The construction of the Nagens Trail marks the end of a long planning process. From the first defined route in 2016, through numerous discussions, to the finally agreed route, a number of hurdles had to be overcome and compromises worked out. As the world's first trail, only all-electric construction machines and transport vehicles are used in the construction. The result is a 4 km long Enduro Trail which is planned, built and maintained with respect for flora & fauna and thus in the spirit of Greenstyle.
The much-awaited start of the construction of the Nagens Trail is a reality. During the last weeks we have been working at full speed to be able to complete the whole construction work without any combustion engines. For construction machinery (excavators, dumpers, vibra plates, chain saws, etc.) and transport vehicles, electrically powered alternatives were sought and found. Now they are moving up the mountain, quietly and 100% with locally produced electricity from renewable resources. Finally - we're rolling!
As in the first week, the weather this week has shown itself from its best side. The first sections are slowly taking shape. The anticipation to ride the trail increases with every meter that is completed. Thanks to the nice weather we were able to do all the work as hoped and are well on schedule. A little rain would not be bad, though, to make the newly built sections more compact. At the moment the trail is a dusty mess.
The rain of the last days has shown: the drainage works! Now that the ground is wet, the whole thing has solidified and we were able to put the sections through a first test. The feedback from the first test rides allows us to make further improvements where necessary in order to create a consistent Enduro experience from start to finish. After 3 weeks about 1/4 of the whole trail is finished. The journey continues.
After a rather short week 3 (due to the Corpus Christi holiday and a lot of rain) we are now back on the road since Monday morning. The goal is to finish the trail until the third crossing of the road leading to Nagens this week, so that we can start the upper section from the access road to Alp Mughels towards Scansinas next week. This is done in constant exchange with the alp master Silvan Casaulta.
The upper section could already be tackled last week starting on Thursday. From the official trailhead (start of the Nagens Trail) we are now moving forward in big steps towards Scansinas. The upper part is much more earthy and therefore the trail construction crew of Velosolutions is moving forward almost twice as many meters per day as before in the very rocky middle section. At the moment the power supply of the electric machines is a little more challenging as the charging possibilities from the snow-making system are several hundred meters away from the trail. However, thanks to the good cooperation with the Weisse Arena, everything is working perfectly and the trail can still be built completely emission-free. There are currently six trail builders on the mountain. Four are working on the new construction in the upper section, while the other two are working on the middle section, which has already been built, to improve and finish the trail. The trail is ridden daily by the crew, so the line and the elements are always tested.
Thanks to the weather last week, our construction crew was able to build at full speed about 150 m of trail per day. By the middle of this week we will reach the second part of the upper sector. Upcoming works this week are certainly the fence crossings in the upper part. After consultation with alp master Silvan Casaulta, we found a way to build them in order to keep the effort for him as low as possible. Since there were four trail builders at the top and two at the bottom, we have already reached Green Valley. Some improvement work has been done in the lower section and a dry stone wall has been erected as a protective measure to reinforce the hillside.
Because of the partly rainy last week, the work did not proceed as fast as the week before last. Nevertheless we will finish the last meters with the machine to the Scansinas Station until this evening. Afterwards our construction crew is busy giving the track the right shape by hand. From midweek on, our machinist will take the machines to the lower part, the second crossing of the Nagens street. There we will first clear the line of adhesions so that we can do the rough work with the machines. The shape crew will start the finishing touches again after finishing the upper section.
Thanks to the great weather we were able to reach and even exceed our goal last week as desired. Our machinist went already on wednesday to the section below the second Nagens crossing. The rest of the construction crew was able to go to the top section on friday after finishing their work in the top section, where another 50 meters of trail have been built until the end of last week. We also worked together on a detailed hiking trail signposting, so that there are no misunderstandings about what is a bike trail and what is a hiking trail.
This week we should almost reach the next road crossing with the rough work, where the construction crew is again working on details and fine tuning.
When was the idea born?
The first ideas came up already in 2007. Due to the increasing number of bikers on the mountain it became clear that there was a need for an alternative line for bikers. So that all stakeholders would feel welcome on the mountain in the future.
Which hurdles did the project have to overcome?
It is important for the destination to find the best possible route that all stakeholders on the mountain feel comfortable with. The project therefore had to be adapted several times in the last 4 years. Reasons were operating hours of the cable cars, alpine farming, environmental protection, steady growth of hiking and biking tourism, etc.
Why is the trail planned exactly there?
A wide variety of aspects were taken into account when choosing the route. For example, the existing infrastructure, which is available because it is a slope section in winter. But also organisational aspects, such as minimising the impact on the alpine farming operations. The continuous access from Grauberg via Plaun to Flims is also particularly attractive for bikers. Slow traffic - i.e. hiking and biking - on this popular section should also be separated. Last but not least, arguments of environmental compatibility were decisive for this special project with its great emphasis on sustainability.
Why is the site so suitable?
The terrain with its natural obstacles, which still originate from the Flims rockfall, offers the perfect basis for an attractive Enduro Trail. Normally the trail builders have to artificially create such elements like waves, hills, hollows, stones etc. Such "unevenness" occurs along the entire course and can therefore be linked by the trail builders to form an exciting trail.
Velosolutions has made a name for itself around the world with a multitude of successfully implemented projects - from pump tracks to mountain bike trails to bike parks. It is our mission to make cycling and action sports accessible to everyone in a playful way. Accordingly, Velosolutions have developed designs that are loved by absolute beginners and professionals worldwide.
The Nagens Trail is a special affair of the heart for us, as we have been based in Flims since 2017 and together with all our partners we want to lead the destination Flims Laax Falera into a successful future, accompanied by bike technology. Our most experienced trail builders with many years of building experience are thus at work in constant exchange with founder and design mastermind Claudio Caluori.
Our main task is the fulfilment of the forest legislation. The bike route runs along the natural forest reserve and the special forest reserve Stretg. The aim of these reserves is to improve the habitat for grouse and rock partridge, but also to take into account other nature conservation concerns.The objectives have been agreed in the form of a servitude contract between the civil community of Laax, the political community of Laax and the Canton of Graubünden. My task is to ensure that these objectives are met.
In connection with the construction of the bike course, I have - taking these goals into account - defined the definitive route with Dave Tschumi before construction. During the construction I am in exchange with him. After completion of the construction work there will be an final acceptance of the work.
Within the scope of environmental construction supervision, I ensure that all relevant laws, regulations, guidelines and requirements are observed. In this context I also coordinate the communication with the relevant authorities (game protection, forest, etc.). I work according to a requirement catalogue in which the most important points for each construction project are recorded. In this case, the main focus is on soil and vegetation protection, i.e. that the living soil and vegetation is properly removed from the new trail and reinstalled on the slopes/edges of the trail, as well as on landscape protection, i.e. that the trail fits into the terrain as naturally as possible. Erosion is also an important issue for us in general, but in the case of bike trails, which themselves have a great interest in functional drainage, this is usually not a problem. I also advise the construction management on questions of nature and environmental protection.
As a gamekeeper I know the wild animals living in the area and know what they require from their habitat. I represent the interests of these animals in the construction process and thus ensure that their needs (rest, cover, possibility for grazing, breeding possibilities, newborn animals) are taken into account in the best possible way. I am available to the whole building process as a consultant and as an information contact for the public.
The communities act as building owners in the construction process of the Nagens Trail, whereas the Flims Laax Falera Management AG is intensively involved with the Nagens Trail as project manager, especially in the run-up to the construction work. The Weisse Arena Gruppe as the operator provides the infrastructure, marketing and operation of the trail.
Martina Tresch (FLFM AG): "With Bikevision 2025 we are implementing targeted measures in our destination to expand the range of biking activities for active families, endurists and the local community. We are proud that together with the communities and the mountain railways, we can implement the first milestone of this vision this summer. The Nagens Trail is the starting point for many more bike-related products."
Senta Gautschi (Weisse Arena Gruppe): "In the Flims Laax Falera region, sustainability is a big issue and therefore future projects should always focus on sustainability. This project, the Nagens Trail, is being built free of fossil fuels. The region, but also the operator of the mountain railways - the Weisse Arena Gruppe - want Greenstyle to be in the foreground at all times and together we are trying to think and work in this direction."