To find yourself in the mountains

Another year, another team event. Unlike last year, I’ve decided to skip the snowboarding and go full on for running. Some goals coming up and well, I just like running a whole lot more. On top of that, conditions are more favorable for running too. There’s no snow to be seen in the village and even higher up there’s plenty of green already. So on Friday morning, I wake up at 6.30 something, gear up in the dark so not to wake up my roomie and go outside. It’s not even 7 when I set foot outside the hotel and turn on my Garmin. 778m above sea level. Let’s get those numbers up. I start running.

 

I look around and as I’d noticed yesterday, the slopes behind the hotel are pretty much snow-free. They’re the closest ones to the hotel too, so I’m in real luck it seems. I run into my first bit of snow at around 1100m, hidden in the shadow. It’d be pretty much the only snow I’d see up close that day. The entire northern side of the mountain has already melted and spring is kicking in hard, flowers and active anthills included. This is March 20th. This isn’t normal. By the time I reach 1400m, It’s time to head back in order to be in time for a quick breakfast and shower and the schedule of the day. I run down in half the time it takes me to climb. Good fun all over. It looks like today is going to be a beautiful one.

I decide not to go running the next morning after some late night partying. Also, we have a snowshoe hike planned for the morning anyway. That turns out to be good fun. Could have been a bit more intense though. I try running with the snowshoes a couple of times and it works quite well. I might want to do this one day. All in, we do just under 4k and not even 200m of altitude gain. We head back to the hotel and have a quick lunch. Well, I have a quick lunch because I want to head out before the 16.30 meeting for another run.

This time I take another approach to the mountainside. Steeper and with signs saying random german stuff like “forest maintenance, keep out” and “unsurveillanced hiking route”. I’m at 1400 and run into a ski piste. Icy as hell and no fun to run. I go off-track. Things get heavy and super steep. I can see the nearest mountain peak and go for it. 1600m. The view is breath taking. I’m super close to the Horn and soooo want to go for it, but time’s against me. I need to start heading down. It hurts, but I tell myself there’s still tomorrow. Tomorrow I’m doing it!

The road down is amazing fun. I run into some GR trails and they’re just so much more fun to run than the gravel I’ve been running so far. Twisting and turning between trees, steep, fast, technical. God, I love this! I’m back just in time for the meeting (which, against company tradition, hasn’t been delayed) which I attend in my running clothes. Oh well, they all know I’m a bit of a running maniac already I guess.

Final day, 7.30. Damn it, overslept! But there’s still time. I quickly gear up and silently sneak out of the room, only to look outside and see… snow! Not too much though, so it might still be doable. I have a quick breakfast and am outside before 8, turn on the Garmin and start heading up. Same trail as yesterday, with some exceptions. I run into our snowshoe hike guide and here snowcrazy dog. I climb… 900, 1000, 1100,. The snow is getting deeper and it has started to snow heavier too. At 1200 I’m in it up to my ankles. The grip is good though, and except for some smaller slips, it’s a joy. Well, the slips are a joy too, sliding down in the snow like a 6 year old.

At 1300 however, I’m in it up to halfway my lower legs. I see a cable car station and head for it. Knee deep in snow now. Heavy but so much fun! I try to sneak on but am stopped by the guard. I ask if I can go down for free if I run all the way up, still considering to go for the 2000m point and return by cable cars. Nope. Well, that’s it then. I head down again, using the same trail I used the day before. Unrecognizable with the snow. Treeroots hidden and branches hanging over the trail because of the weight of the snow they are now carrying make it a total different experience. I run/slide down and in no time I’m back at the hotel. A quick shower and then fall down in a sofa with a book, mountains for a view. I could do this every day for the rest of my life. But I guess we’ll meet again in summer for now, dear mountains.

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