FAQs & Tips

Frequently Asked Questions

The Fort William World Cup is one of 10 events taking place in Europe and North America, from April to September. There are 8 Downhill events in the calendar.

At a World Cup, riders can compete as individuals, for factory teams or for their National Teams. Riders can only enter if they have a minimum number of UCI points, which are earned in other qualifying mountain bike events.

Although the World Championships medals are the most recognised titles in downhill mountain biking, they are for one-off competitions, whereas the World Cup overall title is the best reflection of performance over a range of different courses through the season.

The Gravity disciplines of Downhill (DHI) and 4-Cross (4X) showcase amazing levels of speed, power and bike control.

Downhill is a high-speed descent down the Nevis Range course – a gruelling rock strewn ribbon of bike-smashing dirt that drops 525m in 2.8km. It’s rider against the clock – and the mountain. The current course record is 4 minutes 35 seconds.

4-Cross is gladiatorial in format and epic in scale. As soon as the start gate drops the 4 riders are powering down the jumps, berms and drop-offs, searching for the winning line and the passing move that will get them to the finish line first.

Pretty much everyone who is competing at the highest level will be there. Famous names, Heroes from the magazines and World Champions, will be joined by the stars of the future as everyone battles for a place on the podium and important World Cup points.

We expect more than 250 competitors from around 25-30 nations.

All entries have to go through the national association, except in the case of competitors with UCI registered Trade Teams.

For British riders, contact British Cycling for qualification criteria and entry details.

The course is open for public riding from May – September 2022 (provisional). For the World Cup it will be closed from Monday 16 May. It is hoped that the course will re-open by  Wednesday 25 May as there is special maintenance taking place at Nevis Range after the World Cup weekend.

Please check with Nevis Range for accurate opening times.
Telephone: 01397 705825

The 4X track is open to riders all year (except for the week of the World Cup 16-22 May), but it is not supervised and use of the track is at your own risk.

The existing World Cup and World Championship XC courses are part of the extensive Witch’s Trail network in the Leanachan Forest. They are also open to the public, 365 days a year.

Ever since man first put a knobbly tyre on a bike, Scotland and Fort William were destined to deliver great mountain biking. Fantastic terrain, lots of natural trails and enlightened land access laws set the scene and then in 2001 the Forestry Commission started to develop some of the best single track trail centres in the World.

At the same time the Nevis Range ski area built a downhill trail under its mountain gondola system and hosted its first UCI Downhill World Cup and the first ever 4X World Cup in 2002. In 2003 it added a Cross Country World Cup and since then has become one of the classic events on the World Cup tour.

In 2007 it hosted the UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships, the pinnacle of the mountain biking calendar.

Afraid not – at least not during the World Cup.

The DH courses will be closed to the public from Monday 16 May to Wednesday  25 May. However, the gondola and Nevis Range Red run is open for bikers up to and including Wednesday 18 May, although there will be some restrictions near the car park due to the World Cup build-up.

You can but to be honest the World Cup is not the best place for dogs. The Village is very noisy with lots of people. You can take your dog in the Gondola but there may be sheep on the hill as well as riders hurtling down the track – so any dog should be kept on a lead at all times.

There are a limited number of disabled parking bays close to the main entrance. Wheelchair users can move about the Village, which is mostly flat – a mix of limestone chippings and tarmac – but the courses are all on rough, hilly terrain. Wheelchair access in the gondola is possible. A wheelchair only viewing platform is located on the left-hand side of the Finish arena (looking up the hill).

Spectator Tips

One of the reasons that Fort William has won so many awards is down to you, the Fans. The riders love an enthusiastic, noisy, appreciative crowd and the Fort William fans always deliver the perfect atmosphere.

Your job is pretty simple. Turn up on your own, with family or some mates and do your best to encourage every rider from every country to go higher and faster. Noise is good – shouting, airhorns, rattles, drums, bagpipes, trumpets etc – and there’s plenty of space on the courses for impromptu bands to perform. The neighbours don’t normally complain.

Get out on the course and see what your heroes are capable of doing. The DH is pretty easy to study as the gondola passes over the entire length of the course and the 4X is really accessible, although it will be absolutely jammed for the evening Finals.

Most of all, have fun during the day and at night in Fort William.

Some serious stuff, which is really important.

  • We are looking forward to some glorious Highland weather – but it’s best to come prepared! The Downhill takes place on one of the highest mountains in Britain and the weather can change very suddenly. Even if the forecast is good, bring an extra layer of clothes as well as waterproofs. All courses are on a rugged mountainside so sturdy, waterproof footwear (such as hiking boots) is essential.
  • Remember to take water and food with you if you plan to spend time away from the World Cup Village on the courses. A small rucksack may be very useful. It is not permitted to bring alcohol or glass bottles into the event. There will be random bag checks at the entrance.
  • It is very important for the future of mountain biking in the Highlands that you carry any litter or rubbish to the bottom of the course and dispose of it responsibly in the bins provided.
  • There will be some recycling of rubbish in the World Cup Village. Please help by separating cans and plastic into the appropriate bins.
  • Do not bring any glass onto the site.
  • As a mountain bike enthusiast you’ll know what to expect in terms of the action on the courses.
  • Help us make that action as safe and accessible to spectators as possible by always obeying signs and marshal directions – especially if crossing the course – and keeping outside taped areas.
  • Advance tickets are supplied as QR codes. It is a good idea to bring a hard copy of the code and save the ticket pdf to your phone memory as the 4G signal is sometimes poor at the venue.
  • As well as allowing you up the gondola (if appropriate), tickets allow you into the World Cup Village area and provide access to the course.
  • Please be aware that because of the large number of riders using the Gondola, the seats may be muddy at times.
  • Spectators will not be able to take bikes up the gondola. Bikes can be left at the bike park outside the event entrance. Remember to bring your own lock.
  • The shuttle bus system works well to move people from Fort William and the Park & Ride – but at the end of the day there will be some queuing, due to the volume of people leaving at the same time. Please be tolerant, patient and always check you are in the right queue. There are signs for the different bus routes.
  • Drones are forbidden throughout the venue and on courses.