The year 2020 was not good for most of us, when it comes to the bike trips. But I personally managed spend over a month in Slovenia at the “Jamnica Single Trail Park“. There, I woke up every day with a view of the majestic Petzen and the local MTB Zone Petzen bikepark. Despite the problematic Slovenian-Austrian border, I just couldn’t miss a chance to visit the famous Flow Trail and Thriller.
Petzen is known to bikers mainly for two reasons. The first is the Flow Country Trail, which is one of the longest flow trails in the World. Earlier, I’ve heard many positive opinions about it, from various bikers and although I am not a fan of fully smoothened trails, I have to admit that this trail has changed my attitude. In addition, in the 2020 season it was extended even more, so the flow trail is now begining straight from the lift. Another thing that Petzen can be proud of is the fact that, together with the aforementioned neighboring Jamnica, they hosted the best riders, from all over the world, during one of the Enduro World Series rounds. In 2020, the series was to come here again, but unfortunately the pandemic situation effectively blocked this edition. But surely EWS will come back here in the future, because the trails here are amazing!
When arriving in Petzen we have the impression that we have reached an end of the world. There is no larger city nearby and only peace and quiet. There is a large parking lot, a small restaurant (with a good pizza!), a few houses for rent, and in front of us the impressive Petzen mountain range. After unpacking the bikes, we approach the cash desks of the lift. There also we can find everything that should be in a decent bike park, like bike shop, bike rental and bike service, washers for bikes, e-bikes charging point and maps and full information about the area. We get to the top by a gondola lift, on which is equipped with bicycle hooks. We don’t go to the top, but we still climb with the lift over 1000 meters up. The landscape changes from lowland to high mountain.
At first look at trails map we don’t see a lot of options. There are just two main lines. There are also parts of trails called EWS which are different options when taking the Thriller trail. However, attention should be paid to the length of these trails. Not without reason, not so long ago, Petzen held the title of the longest flow trail in the world! Now it has over 11,5 km, and Thriller together with new EWS variants add another 12 km. Each downhill ride is also over a kilometer covered vertically. It is also worth mentioning the maintenance of the trails, because Petzen is a bit of a phenomenon among other bike parks. Throughout the whole summer season, a team of several people is employed here, which keeps trails in good condition 5 days a week. Four of these days, they work on the flow trail itself, and the last fifth days is for cleaning and shaping the thriller and EWS. In 2020 I was here in September and despite a lot of riders, the trails were here in almost perfect condition. In 2021 season, there are plans for another, completely new, intermediate-level natural trail, which will add more kilometers and expand the offer of the bikepark.
Flow Country Trail
However, the Flow Country Trail is not only a trail for those who want to rush down as fast as possible. Officially it is marked as an easy trail and it actually descents so calm that every mountain biker should be able to handle it and also have a lot of fun on it. The trail is wide, very well maintained, and on the way it also offers us amazing views. The main danger that awaits us here is the fact that it’s easy to gain a lot of speed here without even feeling it too much. That is why I recommend to ride carefully and do not ignore signs with the inscription “SLOW”. A full top to bottom ride at a good speed is about 20 minutes of pure fun. When going down You can really see the enormity of work put into making and mantaining this trail and I highly recommend it to anyone, regardless of whether he rides a downhill, enduro or even an XC bike.
Thriller trail is a completely different story. It is a trail intended only for advanced riders. Here we ride down the natural surface and have natural obstacles, such as rocks and roots. From the start we find a lot of loose stones and a few natural drops, then a piece of winding single trail thru the ski slopes, and after a while, we find ourselves on a steep rocky wall. We will go through, a narrow cut-out shelf, while traversing most of the steepest slopes. Bottom half of trail is not so steep, and sometimes we even need to look for speed, all the time struggling with difficult terrain. So there it is like tough and technical, natural pumptrack. It is a very long trail and there is practically no place to rest. The downhill is demanding, although it is also well thought out and has flowy sections. Lovers of technical, natural, long trails will definitely love it. On Thriller, I would recommend enduro bike, or even downhill bike. The lower, flatter sections can also be easily combined with the Flow trail sections, because the trails cross each other several times.
To get to the EWS parts, we start thru the same top section as Thriller trail. Then, instead of going on the single down the slope, we turn into a steep and winding part. The path uses the maximum amount of natural terrain, so there are a lot of rocks and roots here. Then for a moment we hit the Thriller again on an amazing carved out traverse. Then again EWS is going for a much steeper option. Although it doesn’t offer big drops or jumps on the way down, it definitely requires good technical skills and mastering the bike on steep slopes. There are a lot of loose rocks at one point, but still riding here is pure pleasure. The EWS variant passes by, these flatter fragments of Thriller and joins him for the last fragment in an interesting forest. There is only one short uphill ride there, and after that, virtually every meter of the trail guarantees good downhill fun. The ride at a reasonable speed took us more than 16 minutes! Not counting a lot of stops to rest. For me the feeling is like combining several different DH trails into one.
When heading to Slovenia, we decided to check out some cool bike parks along the way, and we choose to go to Austrian Petzen Bike Park. Earlier I had not heard much about this bike park, except for the information that there is a long and easy flow trail there (perfect for testing a trail bike!). When we got there, I was surprised by the size of the mountain and the length of the lift. Imagine that you are traveling from Poland mostly by flat like a table grounds and suddenly an enormous mountain emerges in front of you – that’s more or less Petzen. Thanks to this, the bike park heve very long trails, on which the average downhill time takes about 20 minutes.
The first to go was the Flow Country Trail, which has only smooth rollers and turns. But it is so incredibly cool and at the same time demanding for Your body that it is hard to get bored on it. All obstacles are passable and constructed in such a way that the beginner will descend safely at a calm speed. An advanced cyclist will play with rollers treating them like jumps. The situation is different with the Thriller trail – a small trail bike from Whyte is not enough for this trail (really good brakes needed there). I realized very quickly that I would not win with this trail and humbly returned to Flow Trail, as it turned out from Marek’s report – quite rightly. Millions of loose rocks on the steep ground would be perfect place for my NS Fuzz downhill bike which stayed in Poland…
However the whole bike park is a nice place for 1-2 days of riding, due to the presence of only two trails. But You really have to go there to visit it, if you will be in the area. The incredibly pleasant Flow Country Trail, which we dubbed “just flow” gives you 20 minutes of pure joy and fun. If you like rocky, narrow and steep routes – you’ll like Thriller. It will tottaly exhaust You, but will give you great satisfaction from the ride. Personally, I liked that place, and I would like to go back there next year, and this time for a longer visit.
We are strongly recommending the visit of Bike Park in Petzen! Yes, You will not find a very extensive network of trails here, but both of us definitely feel, that we want to come back here in the future. The main highlight of this place, the Flow Coutry Trail, is an amazing ride with perfect flow that I have never experienced in other places. More advanced bikers will also love Thriller and EWS trails. At all trails you can really see that a lot amount of work that has been put into them. And the final effect gives us an amazing riding experiences. In addition, I recommend a longer stay in this area, because to see everything that this region has to offer, You should also visit the enduro trails complex in nearby Jamnica (“Jamnica Single Trail Park“), and also amazing “Black Hole Trail“, which is the only official underground (!) enduro trail in the world. This small region on the border between Austria and Slovenia can provide us with lots of biking attractions!
- Petzen is part of the Austrian network of Bike Parks called MTB ZONE.
- All current information about the bike park and the timetable of the lift can be found at: mtbzone-bikepark.com/petzen
- A full-day adult pass costs 30 EUR, but Petzen also accepts the “Gravity Card” in 2021.
- On-site, we have a restaurant, bike shop, bike service and bike rental, bike washers, e-bike charging point, and full information about the area.
- The Flow Country Trail is ideal even for beginner cyclists. We don’t need any “great” bike to ride it down. The only thing we should have are effective brakes, a set of protectors for our body and some common sense. If we adjust the speed on the trail to our own skills, we will have a great time, however, be careful because it is very easy to forget yourself and achieve very high speeds.
- Thriller and EWS are a difficult trails, designed only for experienced riders and it will be useful for us to have a bike with good suspension in the front and rear, and good breaks.
- On typical downhill bikes in Petzen we will also have fun, and we can avoid the flatter episodes of Thriller by going thru a piece of flow trail. However, the best bike to ride here seems to be an enduro / superenduro bike.
- We didn’t spend the night in Petzen, but there were some houses to rent, and some people stayed below the parking lot.
- For a longer bike stay, I recommend staying in Jamnica at the Eco Hotel Koros. A place about 20 km from Petzen is located in the heart of the “Jamnica Single Trail Park” enduro path complex. For more information, please visit: bikenomad.com.
- If you want to experience something new and one of a kind, about 10 km from Petzen is the only official underground enduro trail in the world called “Black Hole Trail“.