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Running mountain trails in the snow

Posted on 13 March 2011

I got up today and was really keen to see if I could do a long run. In my head I had that I should do more than a marathon. However when I started out I quickly realise that the trails were deep in snow and there was no way I was coming back before dark if I did that. The revised plan was to do about 30km.

I took my normal route up the mountain behind our flat. It starts off with a 700m ascent, so knowing that I was going far I took it easy, but still reached the top after 53minutes. Looking towards where I was going to go I could see that there would be snow cover on the trails. Beautiful landscape to run through though!

Snowy trails above Sihlsee


Once on the top of Etzel I set out to find some new trails that I had never been on before. I knew that they were slightly higher than what I normally do, in the end I got up to 1,279 meter above the sea!

I came to a forest where the paths were covered with snow. As you can see on the video above it took a bit of work to run through and I ended up walking all uphill bits, but I could run on the downhill and the flats.

Every now and again the forest trails opened up and I had magnificent views over the Sihlsee, a lake on the back of the Etzel mountain. I had hiked next to the Sihlsee before, but I had never been this high above it. The views alone could fuel me for a long while…

View over Sihlsee

I had snack with me to eat, but I could still feel the distance, or maybe it was more the ascent and descent that killed me. The ascents were great fun. In many places I would sink down to almost my knee and I could really let go on the downhill sections. A few times this of course ended with me being on my backside sliding down, but luckily not caught on camera. Here is a video of one of the downhill sections:

This was the longest I had run in 2011 and I could definitely feel that when I was heading home. I had a last climb ascending about 160 meters up to Etzel and my leg was burning. I think I could have taken a bit more energy with me, but I didnt have any raisins or similar at home, and of course all shops where closed since it is Sunday here.

Went through the snow


This is also where I went through the snow and drowned my foot in icy water. I only had 5km left and the shoes were wet from running in the snow anyhow… Things that happens I guess!

All in all it was a great run. I only managed to do 31.5km in about 4h 35min, but on the other hand I ascended 1,713 meters and descended the same 1,713m. More details on the run, click here.

It is a worrying fact that if I compare this run the the UTMB (Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc), I realise that I have to do this run 6x over to complete the race. At least one thing is for sure, I cannot blame poor training facilities if I dont finish the UTMB this year!

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