Cruising in the snow on a bike with oversized wheels is the new fun alternative to skiing in Cortina d’Ampezzo. Entrepreneurial pioneers like Raniero Campigotto see it as the way forward to incentivize the younger generation and pave the way towards a more progressive side of generating future business. Best of the Alps meets the professional mountain bike instructor to go on a test ride on the slopes.
It is the most gorgeous morning in the Dolomites: blue sky and sunshine, just the perfect day to go on an adventure and try something new. When we arrive at Rifugio Col Gallina, the chalet at the bottom of the Cima Gallina and Croda Negra mountains, manager Raniero Campigotto is already waiting for us. Eager to dive into the unknown, we stack the bikes on the chairlifts and up we go. Before we embark on the ride, a freshly brewed Italian espresso gives us the initial kick to start sailing across the seemingly endless white plateau. Only a few meters down the track and plenty of looks from curious skiing folk later we decide that cruising our fatbike in the snow is just awesome! Then one of our team members stunts a hilarious downfall. His somewhat sore conclusion is nothing like his initial expectation: Fatbiking is about enjoying a steady pace and the surrounding scenery, rather than worrying about speed or technique. The firm grip of the oversized tires on the snow gives one a feeling of sitting on the two-wheeled version of a luxury sedan.
Snow on wheels
The fatbike was first conceived for riding in sub-arctic Alaska or in the desert of New Mexico but its fun factor has made it an instant success with guests. “People like to have options after they finish skiing for the day. Especially young people who like to move,” Mr. Campigotto says. He understands that the mountains have more to offer than just its incredible beauty and so for him the logical consequence is to expand the offer on activities to cater for the guests’ different preferences.
When Mr. Campigotto first saw the fatbike in a Venice showroom he took it back and up the mountain with his 14-year-old son. Their verdict: great potential and high enjoyment factor. “We must listen to what the youngsters have to say,” Mr. Campigotto thinks. „They represent the future generation of our guests.“
To deepen the experience of cruising through the snowscape he is collecting GPS data to map out new routes available on Google Maps and he is planning on investing in a snow cat to create new paths on the pistes.
“We must listen to the youngsters”
Whatever activity you pick up in the mountains, it is all the more enjoyable with friends. For this reason Mr. Campigotto is convinced that the fatbike will help get younger families to visit Cortina and more people interested in sports.
To him the fatbike is more than a trend sport, it is a way of establishing a sustainable future for the generations to come. “Just like at the end of the winter season we must start thinking about the next one,“ Mr. Campigotto explains, and he is trying to figure out other possibilities to explore the diversity of the Dolomites other than skiing or hiking. Besides that “sport is character building“ he sums up the most important thing out of all. A strong future is certainly made of determined minds like his.
Always excited about new ideas but always with an ecological mindset, Mr. Campigotto has more big plans: a swing somewhere in the mountains and a swish tree house. We are already excited for a sleepover in summer.
Text: Sandra Pfeifer
Photos: David Payr // friendship.is
April 27, 2016