Nevin Galmarini on the flow, its history, motivation in summer and the reasons why mountain biking has become so important for him.
Without closer examination, one could assume that alpine snowboarding and mountain biking do not have much in common. Nevin Galmarini sees it differently, and he must know. After all, as Olympic snowboarding champion he is the absolute expert on the snow. But also on the mountain bike he definitely does not have to hide.
If you ride down a challenging path at a reasonable speed on your bike, it's the same aspects as in snowboarding that are essential, says Nevin. Body and brain are focused and concentrated on what's in front of you - 100% attention - the pace and the fun, to name just a few of the parallels!
We wanted to know more about it and accompanied Nevin on one of his favourite tours in his home country, the Lower Engadin. He wanted to show us - at sunrise - something special. So we left Scuol at the crack of dawn. This time with a bike shuttle, so that we didn't have to set off at 2 a.m. in the village. Nevertheless some hard meters of altitude were still waiting for us. At his local mountain in Scuol he showed us his favourite trails around the Piz Clünas past the Alp Laret to his front door in Ardez.
But such bike tours are no problem for Nevin and part of his summer training. But it is much more than just training. The intensive experience of nature and the possibility to simply break out of everyday life make mountain biking so fascinating for Nevin. We quickly understand what Nevin meant. Such spectacular nature experiences, such as the breathtaking sunrise over the Lower Engadine today, make you forget your everyday life for an intense moment. We can well imagine that Nevin draws strength from exactly such situations in winter to find his concentration and to master the many challenges.
Relaxed and in peace and quiet we enjoy the view. Nevin tells us how important the whole region was and still is for him and his development as a top athlete. When he was 13 years old, his family moved to the Lower Engadin because of the snowboarding of the children. Before that, the family mainly knew the lakes of the Upper Engadine, where the die-hard windsurfers often spent their holidays. Arrived in Scuol, Nevin attended the sports class of the High Alpine Institute Ftan together with his brother. They learned romanic, found the best training conditions and laid the foundation for today's sporting success.
"Without this move, I wouldn't have become an Olympic champion!" Nevin Galmarini
As soon as things go downhill, you can tell Nevin is now in his element. The speed, the adaptation to the terrain, the balance on the bike, the immediate reaction - that's what top athlete Nevin is all about. Of course it helps that he is fit, really fit. His brother also helps him to be fit. As a fitness trainer, he is responsible for the entire training program in the summer and ensures the perfect conditions for Nevin to get the most out of himself. Of course it helps a lot that his brother is also his best friend. He knows exactly about his needs and limits.
He always looks forward to the summer, says Nevin. In summer everything changes and he is automatically drawn out into nature. The feeling of independence, being his own boss, is important to Nevin and something he always looks forward to. Because in winter his life is predominantly foreign determined, the calendar is full from September to April. In addition, the foundation for winter is laid in summer - this in an ideal combination of training and leisure activities with family and friends.
On our tour we have meanwhile passed the beautiful Lai da Minschun. Up to the lake the trail was demanding and stony. Now one feels like being somewhere in the vastness of Scotland. Over the hilly landscape the natural trail leads us towards the valley. We all enjoy this dream day in the middle of the impressive Lower Engadine mountain landscape. But slowly we are getting hungry, because a few hours have passed since the quick breakfast and we have already done something. Nevin promises us a surprise and heads purposefully towards Alp Laret, which we can see in the distance.
In the alpine hut we are really surprised. We share a homemade Kaiserschmarrn and yoghurt straight from the kettle, with fresh fruit. The young Älpler family serves fresh coffee and homemade syrup. The perfect break - we have time to enjoy the sun and find out what has motivated Nevin over the years to keep going and perform at his best.
It is important to Nevin that he can realize his full potential. The great conditions in the area of technical and physical training as well as his environment are the optimal basis to reach the optimum. Nevin wants to constantly develop himself and of course always get the best out of himself and the situation. He is very ambitious and only satisfied with his performance when he has invested in every detail and given his full commitment. Nevin is a "full throttle guy" and subordinates a lot to success. Nevertheless, it is important to him that he does not define himself by success alone. His family and friends are very important to him. If he had to choose between his environment or the Olympic victory, the choice would clearly be his family.
Nevin gives us interesting insights into the life of a top athlete on this sun terrace. You can sense that he attaches great importance to emphasizing the positive and listening to his own feeling. Freshly strengthened our tour continues into the valley, towards Ftan.
On the way back we meet more and more hikers. Nevin is of course recognized and patiently poses for 'Selfie's' with his fans. This time for a little "chat" must be. The much discussed problems between biker and hiker are not noticeable. It simply needs some respect and tolerance from all involved, whereby it helps of course to be on the road with an Olympic champion...
The last meters down into the valley we are on the Hometrails of Nevin. Again a proof for the diversity of the Lower Engadin, the soft forest ground with many curves. Now we want to make a side trip to Ardez, where Nevin grew up. Arrived in the village centre, we treat ourselves to the almost obligatory gelato after the tour. We have experienced one highlight after the other and have seen the snowboarder AND the mountain biker Nevin.
Finally, there is the classic question of where he keeps his medals? Nevin answers it with a mischievous smile: "Oh, they're in a box in the basement. If I don't see them all the time, I'll stay hungrier!"
pictures Filip Zuan / text Dave Spielmann