As the world comes to a standstill as we try to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we encourage all of you to hunker down right now, too. In the meantime, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to get back out there.
It took hundreds of years and the heavy-heeled stomping of thousands of trekkers. Now some 30,000 miles of trails high in the Swiss Alps are finally packed down, buffed out, and ready for their true calling: downhill mountain biking. This August, the first North American outfitter to guide armor-clad cyclists to the area, Vancouver, British Columbia-based Big Mountain Bike Adventures, will lead its second annual nine-day Alpenrock Downhill trip in Switzerland's southwestern peaks. "The majority of the trails we ride, no other mountain bikers will ever see," says guide Joe Schwartz, 25, a Nelson, B.C.-based pro. "Where are they? I'm not telling. They're our little secrets." But for less than the price of a Rolex, Schwartz and fellow guide and pro rider Wade Simmons, 33, are willing to spill the beans. First stop is Verbier, where, in a single day, the duo will take riders over 15,000 vertical feet of chairlift-, gondola-, and train-accessed routes, introducing clients to mountain goats, medieval stone churches, and 360-degree views of the Rhone Valley. Then it's back to base camp, the ski resort's three-star Hôtel La Valleé, and finally Brig, where riders will skirt the UNESCO-protected Aletsch Glacier. "You need to bring your own full-face helmet, a full-suspension downhill bike, and protective wear," says Schwartz. "But don't worrythe trails are so smooth, the difficulty level is actually pretty low." August 1725 and August 26September 3; $2,782, including lodgingand meals; ridebig.com