EWS Zermatt Track Practice: Winter Racing in Late August

Racers are bundled for EWS round one, ready to be back on the clock.
Winners get fenders. Well, really everyone was strapping one on prior to practice on Saturday.

After a summer of dusty turns, the weather in Zermatt, Switzerland, took a headlong dive into winter temps on the eve of this season’s first Enduro World Series event. As racers strapped on every layer of clothing they could find or borrow, mechanics were busy mounting up fenders and swapping tires. The trails here are made up of sharp turns and slick stones, with little soil in between.

Scheduled practice runs were delayed to allow time for medical staff to make their way up the mountain. The morning’s heavy fog prevented the Zermatt emergency helicopter team from flying, and the heavy white blanket looks to be sticking around for race day.

Eddie masters’ mechanic stretching a fresh tire insert to protect against the Matterhorn shaped terrain.
The Norco Twins have some sweet new saddles mounted up for the event, designed by Anka Martin. They didn’t look this clean for long.
Florian Nicolai checking new start times and stage changes.
Caro Gehrig’s full repair stash.

Into the slippery mist.

These rocks are easier to ride than walk on by a long shot. With minimal braking and full commitment, most of the athletes stayed upright.
Jesse Melamed, sliding one direction and looking the other.
Not just slick stones, but steep ones.
A few riders extended their visors for added shelter.
Vid Persak with more than a few extra few layers.
Miranda Miller warming up on her new Kona Process X.
Elliot Heap with the most camera-friendly bike.
Hiking back to session the track was a tricky gamble on the grass covered ski slopes.
Martin Maes is no stranger to wet weather sliding.
The beloved mud-stripe.
About half of the riders managed to keep their goggles on.
Isabeau Courdurier looking confident with the leaders plate on her bars.

That’s a wrap for today. It’s time to dry out the shoes and prep for tomorrow’s full-gas downpour.