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Would You Dare to Take Part in Some of the Most Extreme European Races in Snow?

By Adam Marsal

While some people use their bikes to travel to warmer countries others have heads full of ideas how to bury their cycling helmets deep into snow along with their heads. Even if there are tons of “snowy” cycling events in the Northern America, in Europe they’re still rather rare to see. Let’s have a look at what’s on this winter’s menu for both endurance and gravity disciplines lovers.

Ride Hard on Snow

Lienz, Hochstein – Austria
January 28th, 2017

The course of the 6th edition of this Austrian downhill craziness shares the same slope with the FIS Ladies World Cup. Originally founded as a local race, it has grown into the international event attracting more and more riders from surrounding countries. Although the participants are starting individually in time intervals, the race is not lacking overtaking moments. Many professional riders, including triathlete champion or world cup competitors, are due to show up, so it will be a great challenge for everyone taking their chances.

More at ride-free.at

Snow Bike Festival

Gstaad – Switzerland
January 19th – 22nd 2017

Folks in Gstaat came up with a revolutionary idea to organise an official race for fat tyre riders and this year’s event has been even awarded a very important accreditation, making it the first UCI-approved race on snow. The 2017 edition of the Snow Festival will feature a 4-day stage race and Eliminator Night Race. Every participant has a right to pick any kind of bike he likes, but the fat bikes look like the best choice. Be prepared for a lot of climbing and descending, as well as stunning panoramic views as you’re going to pass beneath one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in Europe. During the stage race, you’re supposed to tackle 100 km of snow-covered trails and nearly 2500 m of climbing. The CHF 690 starting fee includes hot meals, entry to heated swimming pools and much more.

More at: snowbikefestival.com

Chinese Downhill

February 25th, 2017
Špindlerův Mlýn – the Czech Republic

Organised by the Red Bull supported ex-World Cup racer Michal Maroši, Chinese Downhill became quickly a synonym for a great event enticing fearless bikers coming from the whole central European region. As soon as the slope is closed for the skiers in the afternoon, there is going to be a couple of MTB downhill heats, each including tens of insane riders. Clearly, the race isn’t without unpredictable manoeuvres or mass-crashes. Luckily, everything is just on snow, so there have been no serious injuries yet. Because the race is held in the Czech mountains, very close to the Polish and German borders, all riders coming from abroad are welcome. Last but not least, the race is always followed by the even more furious after party, so you’d better apply only in case your liver is in a perfect shape.

Rovaniemi 66 – 300

Rovaniemi – Finland
February 17th – 23rd, 2017

This sounds like a hard challenge for real men (or women). This event includes everything for people who don’t give a damn about cold: arctic climate, deep powder snow, low temperature, and short daylight time. Welcome to Rovaniemi in Finland, the official base camp of Santa Claus. You can eventually choose the length of the track from 66, 150, and 300 kilometres. There are categories for foot, skiing, and fat bike competitors. Although the whole route is well-marked, the satellite device tracker is mandatory for registering. Unless you manage to come through each of the checkpoints in time, they will be closed and you probably won’t find a tent. However, there still will be wood for the fire!

Details on: rovaniemi150.com

Glacier Bike Downhill

March 11th, 2017
Saas Fee – Switzerland

This will be a trully big mountain experience. Traditional glacier downhill race held in the Swiss ski resort Saas Fee starts at 3500 altitudinal metres. Riders competing in blocks need to tackle not only each other and surface covered in snow and ice but also thin air and a big elevation difference. From the Mittelallain station, participants are supposed to drop down to the glacier village in 1800 m. Once again, this event is also finished off with a huge celebration!

More at: saas-fee.ch