Day 1: Running from Garmisch up through the Zugspitze area
When it comes to trail running, the Alps are a massive playground. It’s hard to go wrong and find yourself on a bad trail. But, it’s harder still to design a perfect three day tour and get it exactly right, especially one with about 90km and 7000 meters of gain. To complicate things even further, gather 10 strangers, from seven different countries, with varying abilities, and have them spend long days running together – ideally having a great time. This was the Dynafit Speed TransAlp.
Primarily known as a ski touring brand, Dynafit leads the industry when it comes to innovation. After extensive engineering and testing, their bindings, boots, skis, and accessories are all about performance. So too with mountain running where they are applying the same philosophy to their trail gear. Ultra simple and effective designs with top materials have brought them to the front of the Euro running scene. They do things right. They have to as the entire company is made up of very real mountain athletes. They’re the real deal, all the way around, and it shows.
For the 2016 Speed TransAlp, they created the route, organized all the logistics, provided guides, offered gear to those wanting to try, and then let the participants cast out from Garmisch, Germany, run through Austria, and finish up near Merano, Italy.
We moved through multiple languages, different mountain ranges, switched from beer to wine, wurst to salami, and kaffee to caffè. It was everything a running tour should be, but Dynafit made it extra special by pushing us with tough days. Thankfully, our hard days were made much easier with all the laughing that rang out along the trails. Dynafit did not only design a solid tour, they put together a group of great people who arrived as strangers and left as friends. Like so many experiences in the mountains, they can only be made better by the company you keep, and I think we spent the time in some great company.
As a mountain runner myself, I was lucky enough to be the photographer who got to run along and document the trip. The results are very real photos of the entire Alps running experience.
For those interested in being a participant for 2017, follow Dynafit’s social media for updates.
Day 1 was long, nearly 40km, with a huge variety of terrain and very long, runnable sections of singletrack. Sonja von Opel on the move.
Day 1: Sonja von Opel using natural techniques to freeze an injured knee
Day 1: Kimberly Strom and Christian Nørfelt on the last climb of the day to the border of Germany and Austria.
Day 1: Everyone was tempted, but only one made the plunge.
Day 1: Théo Haas on the last descent of the day, a descent that was too short for some, and forever for others.
Day 2: Late breakfast, bear style, at the blueberry buffet as we leave the Lüsens Valley on our way to the Stubaital, Austria.
Day 2: Kimberly Strom and Christian Nørfelt on the way to the summit of the Schafgrübler, Austria
Day 2: Javi Martin nearing day 2’s highpoint, the 2922 Schafgrübler, Austria
Day 2: The group moving through high terrain above the Stubaital, Austria.
Day 2: Philipp Schädler arriving to the last pass before the drop into Stubaital. The afternoon brought increasing clouds and some early rain as a front moved through, just in time for our last, and highest day.
Day 2: Two long days start to add up to fatigue. Andrea Zanetti at the end of day 2.
Day 3: We woke to heavy rain with snow up high, which happened to be our destination. Here we are getting ready to leave the Stubaital with visions of Italian food as our reward for the last day.
Day 3: Nearing our highpoint of 3208 meters, we had to cross some small, very slippery glaciers.
Day 3: With cold, wet feet, we dropped quickly to make the first hut and a short stop for drying out and hot drinks.
Day 3: At the Hildesheimer Hut, Kimberly Strom checking out the snow mattress conveniently placed on the lounge chair. Nice and soft, but kind of chilly.
Day 3: Théo Haas back below snow line, on one of the many ups during our 2600 meter day.
Day 3: It’s funny how a random pass in the mountains can be the border between two languages and cultures. We’ve arrived to Italy and are dropping in to eat!
Day 3: At this point, we smelled the barn and our finish. In fact some of us may have actually smelled like a barn ourselves. Kimberly and Théo stopped for water.
Day 3: The beauty of mountain running is the amount of ground you can cover, which in the Alps is a huge advantage as you want to see around every corner, and over every pass. On this tour, we certainly crossed some passes and rounded some corners.