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Trailrunning at its best

I am running uphill with powerful, purposeful steps. On the ascending route through the lush meadows of Niederthai, I quickly leave the dense coniferous forest behind me. Trails as diverse and varied as nature itself around me - it motivates me to increase my pace on the flowing trails. Time flies and I keep discovering new paths and possibilities in a row.

It is late afternoon and dense fog is moving east over the peaks. Past the summit cross of Narrenkogel, the mountain gives me a moment to take a deep breath. The terrain becomes flatter and flatter, it almost reminds me of the Scottish Highlands.

While the mighty peak of Strahlkogel emerges in the corner of my eye, I keep my focus on the few meters in front of me. My heart is beating. I feel the crisp and clean mountain air in my lungs and the energy it gives me.

Trailrunning Philipp Ausserhofer

The terrain becomes more demanding, technical and challenging. "Exactly my favorite one!", I think. I can feel the sun approaching the horizon behind me between the clouds.


I follow the exposed ridges attentively and fully focused, heading towards the lonely and pathless summit of Gruegrat. I reach the summit, looking around me while the sun disappears behind the westernmost Ötztal Alps and bathes the majestic mountains in a deep red evening light. "Tirol at its best", that's what I was promised when I was invited to the training camp - you could hardly describe this feeling that builds up inside me at the same moment. Pure goosebumps.


My gaze follows the course of the valley below me: idyllic and lovely trails in the lower part of Ötztal, mighty glacier peaks with technically demanding trails in its upper part. A paradise for trail runners - no matter what skill level you have reached. Amidst varied Ötztal, everyone gets their money's worth: be it vertical specialist or ultra-runner, leisurely runner or true athlete.


The wind freshens and the first street lights are twinkling on the valley floor. Time to return towards the valley. As I set out, I catch myself looking out for new adventures for the next day of my training camp in Ötztal.

Trailrunning Philipp Ausserhofer
Trailrunning Philipp Ausserhofer
Trailrunning Philipp Ausserhofer

Fabulous Ötztal includes almost 1600 km of hiking trails and footpaths that can be tackled and explored in the best trail running manner. There are also specially marked and signposted trail running routes for every level across the entire valley. Some of my favorites are the following and are waiting to be explored.

My favorite Top 4 trails in Ötztal


Trail A (moderate):

Niederthai – Narrenkogel – Poschachkogel – Finstertaler Sennhütte – Klein-Horlach-Alm

15K / +1200m

to the route


TRAIL B (difficult):

Sölden (Gasthof Brückenwirt) – Brunnenkogelhaus – Timmelsjoch - Sölden

23K / +2000m

Alternative: return by bus from Timmelsjoch

to the route


TRAIL C (easy):

Oetz - Piburger See – Habichen – Oetz

10K / +550m

to the route


TRAIL D (demanding):

Obergurgl – Küppelehütte – Langtalereckhütte - Obergurgl

23K / +1600m

to the route

Philipp Ausserhofer

Author: Philipp Ausserhofer

Philipp Ausserhofer is a trained pharmacist and passionate trail runner. His discipline is ultra-distance running, preferably in technically difficult terrain. At the young age of 29, he is considered an aspiring young athlete in his discipline and was able to prove his class internationally by winning the Mozart100 (Ultra Trail World Tour), IATF or Dolomiti Extreme.

In late summer 2021, Philipp took full advantage of the excellent training conditions in Ötztal to prepare for the competitions. In the course of this training stay, also the images used here were created.

You can find more information about Philipp and trail running in Ötztal at:theflyingflip.com or oetztal.com/trailrunning


In Ötztal two established trail running competitions take place: the Stuiben Trail Run and the Glacier Trail Run, which boast a strong and well-attended starting field each year.



STUIBEN TRAIL RUN 2022: 27 + 28 May 2022

GLACIER TRAIL RUN 2022: 08 + 09 July 2022

More details at: www.oetztal-trailrunning.at