The final stop in this stint of bike park exploration was Winterberg, a place I’d heard a lot about through friends and forums as it’s relatively close location to the UK means that a lot of people have visited here. Sadly, we were to turn up in torrential rain, which makes it hard to form an impartial view. We were only going to do half a day here to give the chance for the rain to stop, for my rebound cartridge to be replaced by the local bike shop, and to re-fuel on waffles with ice cream and cherries for breakfast. Once all that was done it was time to don waterproofs and brave the elements.
The first thing to strike me about Winterberg was how well set up it was. It resembles a Butlins holiday camp, but for bikes. The facilities are all there in one place – restaurants, bike shop, mini golf, summer luge, all the essentials! There’s even an inner tube vending machine at the bottom; why there isn’t one of these at every trail centre and lift station now seems obscure to me, what a great idea!
The hill itself is quite small, and really is best described as a hill rather than a mountain, but they have made the most of it with several downhill trails, jump park, north shore drop style area, 4X track, they’ve got it all. Due to the weather we pretty much stayed away from most of the drops, jumps and northshore, which is a shame as I think that’s probably the main reason you’d come here.
Due to the size of the hill the downhill tracks aren’t exactly epic, but the IXS track really does make the most of the hill and is a lot of fun, even in the wet, and has several easily accessible jumps and drops that can be hit without too much thought, which makes for a fun, flowy track that you can do again and again without losing interest.
On the ‘entrance’ side of the hill is a skills zone area, which even on a day like we had, was full of kids practising and learning the skills needed to ride at bikes and that’s where Winterberg should really be applauded – they are encouraging young people into the sport and giving them the facilities, encouragement and guidance needed to do so. The bike shop also echo’s this with a huge rental fleet of bikes, body armour and helmets, so that those not quite yet into the sport can easily give it a go without splashing out too much in the first place. The shop also gets a massive shout out of thanks for replacing my Boxxer rebound cartridge and giving them a full service in the process for a very reasonable price and in a little over an hour, while I tucked into my waffle and ice cream breakfast – German efficiency truly at work!
Despite the weather, we had a really good time here. I don’t think I’d be in a massive rush to return due to preferring long technical descents over drops and jumps, but I’d certainly stop by if I was passing, or if I needed my forks serviced again.