June 25, 2021
TCoYT 2021 Most Innovative Trail Crew Award
The Take Care of Your Trails campaign highlights the work of many volunteers and some of the best volunteer trail crews we have around Europe. Today, we’re glad to announce the winning group that has been selected as “Most Innovative Trail Crew’. The winners will be taking home a Specialized Levo + Trailer + Trail building tools.
Now to announce the winner of this year’s Most Innovative award…
Meet Vivabike Valposchiavo, maintaining and developing the trails in the south of Switzerland on the border with Italy.
Vivabike Valposchiavo has been selected this year as ‘Most Innovative Crew’ for their innovation in trail maintenance as well as their means in recruiting and engaging volunteers .
Vivabike Valposchiavo strives to expand their mountain biking offer in Valposchiavo without creating new trails. In order to do this, they rely on what they call, ‘trail recycling’, which is recycling historic paths that are hardly used today, but which can be very exciting as bike trails.
One such example is the so-called “Vie da li sclenzuli”. These “direct connections” between the high altitudes and the valley floor were once used to bring the hay mown at altitude down to the valley by the so-called “sclenzuli”, a kind of wooden sledge. Today, these paths are no longer used by agriculture but they need to be cleared of debris and branches with which they have filled up over the last decades or centuries. Sometimes, rerouting is needed to create more sustainable trail grades while some sections might be too steep and could lead to erosion.
Trail recycling is a very sustainable way to create an attractive trail network without having to interfere with the landscape: The trails already exist. Through the participation of external volunteers, the Trail Care Weeks also have an important marketing effect. There is no more effective marketing than word-of-mouth propaganda and the participants of the Trail Care Week become enthusiastic fans of Valposchiavo.
Getting more people involved in an innovative way
Vivabike Valposchiavo is, in a way, the umbrella brand of the Destination Management Organisation Valposchiavo Turismo for everything that has to do with mountain biking. Vivabike Valposchiavo covers various areas:
- The partner businesses (9 hotels, 1 restaurant and 1 bike shop),
- The Vivabike Festival, which opens the biking season every year (www.vivabike.ch), and since this year also two bike guides, Davide Jäger and Daniele Godenzi (www.valposchiavo.ch/bike).
- Trail maintenance is in the hands of Matteo Godenzi and Francesco Lanfranchi. Matteo and Francesco are passionate bikers and spend as much free time as possible on the saddle. They explore the most hidden trails and think about how to make them more attractive for our biking guests.
In order to make these paths fit again as bike trails, Vivabike Valposchiavo regularly organises Trail Care Weeks. The organisation invites about 15 interested bikers to join their local trail care crew to clear exciting sections of trail. The bikers come to Valposchiavo for 5 days, in the morning they work on the trails and in the afternoon they go on rides with local guides and get to know our bike trails. They also visit local producers and taste local products. Board and lodging is provided by our bike hotels.
A tough choice with so many inspirational stories being submitted for this new award category. That’s why this year we will also be highlighting three other crews that made the pre-selection for their outstanding work. These crews will be receiving a donation towards their organisation for all their hard work!
- Aberdeenshire Trail Association (Scotland)
- Woburn Bike Trails (United Kingdom)
- Corsuet Bike Center (France)