When I was in Slovenia in May 2019 , I had the opportunity to ride a bike in two amazing places. These were the awesome trails in “Jamnica Single Trail Park“, and the underground (!) “Black Hole Trail” which is one of its kind. Unfortunately I hadn’t enough time to visit nieghbouring Bike Park Petzen, and I heard a lot of good about it. When a month later we went with Tina in this area, I knew that we must go there and check it out.
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. Another thing that Petzen can be proud of, is the fact that, together with the neighbouring Jamnica, they hosted already the best riders from all over the world, during one of the Enduro World Series rounds. And the confirmation of how good the place is fact that EWS will return to Jamnica/Petzen trails in year 2020!
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 completely new parts of trails prepared for EWS which are different options when going 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! It has over 11 km, and Thriller together with new EWS variants add another 10 km. Each downhill ride is also over a kilometer covered vertically. We start easily, with a nice warm-up, so we take on the most known trail over there.
Flow Country Trail
As I mentioned before, completely smooth flow trails have never been my favorite type of mountain bike trails. Yes, the rhythm of a trail is a very important factor, but the flow type routes, which I have had the opportunity to ride in Poland so far, were ok, but not anything special. However, I can safely say that the trail in Petzen is just a different league. In theory, there is not much going on on it, because we ride only on a smoothed surface and had to deal only with gentle rollers and profiled turns on the way. But the whole trail is build in such a way that there is no time here to get bored. When riding faster we can have some jumps, and the corner profiles are made and maintained simply perfectly. High sometimes on 2 meters bends are the best I’ve ridden in my life. With fast riding, and constantly changing direction, it felt like a ride on a good roller coaster. At the end of the day I began to feel back pain, caused by pushing me with great force into every single corner. And along the way we will ride a lot of corners …
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 bikers. Here we ride down a 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. It is a long trail amd 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 like 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. The latest variants called EWS are as options on Thriller, but unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to check them out. Definitely I must come again and do that at the earliest opportunity!
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 after one day of riding, we definitely feel that we want to come back for longer time. 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 with its new EWS variants. 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 2019.
- 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 out 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 is a difficult trail designed only for experienced bikers 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“.