The MTB Trail Builder of Finale Ligure, Italy, EWS

Do you know what makes a mountain bike trail builder tick?

“The Energy of a trail, I don’t know if it’s noticed. Maybe it comes from deep within!” Says the godfather of trail building in Finale, Italy, Fulvio Balbi.

As we sit together on a hillside halfway down one of his lesser-known creations, EDR racers Louise Paulin and Bex Baraona probe to find out what makes a trail builder like Fulvio tick.

When riding in this region, how can you tell if you are riding a Fulvio trail?

How did he find such an understanding partner who lets him spend day after day in the forest building hundreds of miles of trails in the Finale and surrounding regions?

Fulvio goes to great lengths to ensure we realize that it isn’t just him but a load of dedicated riders and builders from all over the region that helps to sculpt this impressive landscape. But yes, he admits, “I do have a particular style!”

And that style comes from a deep belief that the forest and environment have a different energy, the energy you feel as you pass through the environment, and helps Fulvio plan which features he will use to build his trail and which areas not to touch. 

It all sounds a bit hippy or alternative, but the more you think about it, the more it makes sense.

As we chatted, our minds started to think about our own experiences; how often have we been riding a section of trail or resting in a particular place, and it just feels right? You can’t explain it; it just feels right! You probably remarked it to your riding buddies; I expect they felt the same way.

I suppose it’s no different from where you prefer to sit in a restaurant, on a bus, or around the meeting table. They all have an energy or feeling that makes you happy or comfortable, so maybe next time you are trail building or riding, you could remember the wise words Fulvio has shared with us. And do let us know what you find.

What is the Finale Ligure EWS Trail?

Finale Ligure EWS is a 40-mile expert race route near Finale Ligure, Italy. This mountain bike route extends in one direction and has an extreme overall physical rating. This route includes three trails. The EWS route climbs 6,828 ft. with a max elevation of 1,236 ft., then descends -6,835 ft. Intense!

Where is Finale Ligure?

Finale Ligure is located in the province of Savona, in the Liguria region of northwest Italy. It’s situated on the coast of the Ligurian Sea, about 70 kilometers southwest of Genoa. Finale Ligure is also a popular tourist destination known for its beaches, historic architecture, and outdoor activities such as mountain biking.

What is a Trail Builder?

A mountain bike trail builder is a professional who designs and constructs trails for mountain biking. They can build from scratch or maintain and improve existing trails. 

Trail builders usually work for local private landowners or mountain bike advocacy groups. And they have expertise in trail construction, including grading, drainage, and erosion control, as well as knowledge of local regulations and environmental considerations. 

Most importantly, trail builders work closely with riders and local communities to create safe, sustainable, and enjoyable for all riders.

Who is Trail Builder, Fulvio Balbi?

Fulvio Balbi is an Italian trail builder known for designing and constructing sustainable mountain bike trails in Italy. He has worked with several mountain bike advocacy groups and organizations to build trails in Italy and other parts of Europe.

Balbi is known for his innovative and environmentally sensitive approach to trail building, which emphasizes using natural materials and minimizing the impact on the surrounding ecosystem. He has also worked to educate local communities and mountain bikers about the importance of sustainable trail design and construction.

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