On this July morning, the weather is fantastic with hardly a cloud to be seen in the bright blue sky. Once more Naturno has not let us down as far as the weather is concerned, but this is scarcely surprising with more than 300 days of sunshine per year.
Kurt is already there. A man in his mid thirties, Kurt is showing us today his favourite tour in the Merano Region. One of his favourites, for Kurt has many. This family man is happiest when spending his leisure time on two wheels and is as comfortable on a mountain bike as on a racing cycle.
"So, Kurt, what are you going to show us today?" we ask him in Rablà, where we have met him at the valley station of the Aschbach railway. "We are going up the north side to Aschbach and then we will follow the forest trail to the Bike Highline Meran(o), which takes us past five different Alpine pastures. And to round off the day in style, we will take the Fontana Trail, which will bring us back to Castelbello-Ciardes," he explains.
Normally he rides his bike up the climb to Aschbach. He is a mountain biker of the "old school" and is convinced that a MTB tour is only a MTB tour, if you pedal the whole distance. He makes an exception for us and the F-Tech crew's film equipment. Thank goodness! Climbing some 820 metres in altitude with all the kit would be simply too exhausting.
Wow! Once we arrive in Aschbach we are simply speechless. What an unspoiled view! Kurt leads us to the little Church Madonna della Neve and shows us the panorama over the mountains from Val Venosta down to the Merano valley floor. Heavenly!
We follow Kurt along the forest road and round a few bends to the Bike Highline Meran(o). This was created in 2014 and on forest tracks and paths, it connects five alpine pastures, at all of which it is well worth stopping. The Highline could not be more varied. The terrain starts flat and then becomes a little steeper; from gentle forest floors it turns into pebble and rock-strewn passages. And always within view we have the Tessa Mountain Group to our right.
"Do you know what is best about the Highline?" Kurt, who in real life works in marketing for South Tyrol's apple trade, asks us. "From the Highline there are four different trails leading back down into the valley. In Aschbach itself the Stoanbruch Trail leads down, then comes the Ötzi Trail, next the Lupo Trail and finally the Fontana Trail. And so that no-one misses the access points, everything is clearly signposted, with information about the degree of difficulty of each route."
Kurt loves the Fontana Trail, which deposits him almost at his front door. "The trail is perfect: nicely undulating, with a few challenging passages, fast and most of all - for skilled bikers - even with a hard tail, it is wonderfully accessible. It is simply the greatest fun!"
And Kurt knows what he is talking about. His Super Tour is really super, especially since it offers so many variations and alternatives. You certainly won't be bored in the Naturno biking region!
Key data for the tour
Castelbello: 587 m
Aschbach: 1,326 m
Monte San Vigilio: 1,740 m
Naturno Pasture: 1,922 m
Zehtn-Alm: 1,747 m
Mausloch Pasture: 1,835 m
Tablander Pasture: 1,788 m
Marzoner Pasture: 1,600 m
Distance: 19.8 m
Uphill 1,080 m
Downhill 1,080 m
The video of Kurt's Super Tour
From Locals with Love - Mountainbiken im Meraner Land | Itinerario MTB a Merano e dintorni | MTB Tour in Merano from Bikehotels Südtirol on Vimeo.