MTB Travel Guide: Winterberg, Germany

Place: Winterberg
Country: Germany
Number of trails: 9
Riding style: Bike park

Winterberg's Blue MTB trail.
Winterberg’s Blue MTB trail.

The place

Winterberg is in the north-west part of Germany, an area called the Sauerland.

The town of Winterberg is beautiful: neat, clean and picturesque. The area is a bit like the alps but in nano and more manicured. Its claim to fame is its transformation into a high-end winter ski playground for the suits of Dortmund and Køln.

In the Summer, bird bothering ramblers and grubby overweight downhillers migrate to Winterberg to get dirty on the same slopes.

Winterberg bike park is lift-assisted and serviced by a sit down chairlift and a T-bar and has played host to numerous German national level four-cross and downhill competitions.

Winterberg and West Sauerland has much more to offer than just a bike park though. There’s amazing scenery, rolling hills, lakes and more than 1000+km of XC MTB trails around the region from the north in Marsberg to Hallenberg. Mostly the XC riding seems to be done on fire roads, although judging by the landscape there must be ribbons of single track treasures tucked away but we could neither find them nor was anyone willing to tell us where they were.

Winterberg DH track.
Winterberg DH track.

The riding

Arriving late and tired at 4 on Friday afternoon but still being able to buy a lift pass for the last 2 hours makes you feel good about the place, and even better that you can use the pass the following day, think clip card.

Tired and fatigued we decided to hit up the IXS downhill track. Graded as a black, it’s a 1km fast track that covers just about everything you could want from a downhill course: gap jumps, drops, berms, rock gardens and victims littering the course screaming for medics. Cry me a river.

It’s just all about the downhill though. Winterberg has a mix of different graded trails from Black to green:

Continental Track: fun table-top and berm-tastic good for the kiddies and learners.
North Shore: a north-shore and see-saw strewn wood work trail.
The Giro Free Cross: a long, poorly groomed (death by brake bump) berm trail.
The Fun Ride: a more relaxed mini north-shore ride with smaller woodwork and more manageable drops.

The track we most liked was a bit hidden, it’s not signposted at all and you have to drop off from the scary North Shore trail to find it. It was called Single Trail, it’s steep and very technical (especially in the wet), with multiple root-covered tight corners and sections that are quite frankly great and improve your technique.

Local delicacy...
Local delicacy…

About the Author’s trip

Winterberg bike park kept us amused for two or three days.

It took us over seven hours to get to Winterberg, which is the same as travelling from London, so that is quite a bit of travel for essentially a bike park with two great trails and some others that are simply ‘fun’. I mean three more hours on the road and you’re in Morzine, the spiritual European home of Brits on bikes.

I wouldn’t really recommend a deliberate trip here unless it’s part of a bigger tour or road trip.

However, if I lived fewer than three hours from Winterberg it would be less commitment and I would be there every other week, riding the park, singing its local praises, eating the sometimes questionable food and searching for those hidden single tracks.

Getting there

By road: About 7 to 8 hours from London.

Fly/hire: The nearest useable airport is Dortmund, it takes about 1.5 hours to fly there from Stanstead from £120 return with Easyjet and then it’s roughly 1 hour 20mins by hire car.

Accommodation

We booked late online and got a great deal on a fine 4 star hotel called the Dorint Sprint Sport Resort. It’s only 1km outside Winterberg, and costs 25€ per person per night including breakfast. Try booking.com for some great deals on hotels around Winterberg.

Feature produced by Carsick John

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