Making love to Pila

A Rat Mission... Rat and Craig travel from Innsbruck to Pila, filming as they go. Hype.

Last year a few of us made it to pila for opening day. after being in Morzine for three weeks, or anywhere for that matter in the heavily trafficked french resorts, this was something id never seen. We were on the first lift and there was still trail crew prepping the perfect looking tracks and i just remember the feeling of not knowing what to do first, like a spoilt child at Xmas, i wanted to ride every track at once, we ended up doing 15 coffee fuelled runs and had a day to remember forever, so this year i had to get back and film it. (Vid below from '16 opening day)

Lorenzo met us the sunday night after innsbruck in the top carpark so we had a few beers and got hyped for what was to come, Lorenzo was nursing a shoulder injury but the next day, his first runs of the year down Pila, he displayed some of the sickest riding I’ve witnessed. the man can corner, and pilas corners are so fucking juicy. the dirts insane, its not an overbuilt bike park but theres just enough there to link all the natural features up so fluidly. its like flow trails XL. We also stayed only on the Trail bikes this year and got shown some trails which were a bit of a peddle from the lifts but were even more natural and untouched than the main stuff. dreamland. 

The aim of the video, after our sunday night debrief with L, was not to “rape” pila but to make love to it. now we all love to see the KIWI’s rip the backside out of a track but: A. we cant do it as good as them and B. when something is crafted this passionately it feels wrong to compromise it for everyone else. this helps being on the smaller bike too because you just cant be as aggressive. this was the goal anyway, sometimes its hard not to get a bit carried away....

the first day, i carried the camera round all day but only got it out for two clips, the rest of the time we were just trying our best to keep up with a “cruising” injured lorenzo, the man was on a mission gapping all sorts of gnar and landing leant 45 degrees into turns just poetry. later in the day he went down onto the bad shoulder which really put him on the sidelines the rest of the time which was a real bummer but did not get him down at all he just dropped into role as cameraman like a boss, double angles are us. 

from Pila we started the cruise over to la Thuile but only before 2 coffees, 4 pastries an Aosta bmx track session and a stop at an icy waterfall.  Lorenzo had nothing but amazing things to say about La thuile and we had only heard good things from loose, as we climbed the pass and entered the town to our camping spot we realised why, huge mountains either side blanketed by lush greenery… such a beautiful place. We woke up the next day eager to get up the mountain, lorenzo had organised us shuttles with the local bike shop (only ski la thuile) as the lifts weren’t open yet, we got up top and rolled into the first trail which flowed down the valley following the course of the river, it felt so natural like a walking trail but with so many gaps and ways to open up corners, so satisfying feeling as though you are the only one who might of ridden it in that way. there was a variety of other trails flowy stuff in the alpine and mega steep rooty tech stuff in the woods all sick and so fun to ride and all still feeling so natural.

last run i mentioned to rat that we should go check out a roof drop we had seen on the way into town, we rolled down threw the bikes over the fence of what we thought was a school, walking across the footy pitch rat noticed a guy sat in the window and casually gave him a ciao and smiled, rat gave me a leg up onto a small flat roof and i crawled up a slippy angled tin roof to check where we were going off. i peered over the top and just saw a load of camo army vehicles and italian flags, shit myself slightly slid down the tin and told rat what id seen, he was like “well we are here now aren’t we” he threw my bike up and i peddled off the end to a super buttery landing. we got out of there pretty quick, we didn’t fancy getting caught by the italian army.

thanks to all the italians and lorenzo for an unreal week in the aosta valley, we will definitely be back to sample more dreamy trails. 
(Words by Rat and Craig Photos by Lorenzo)