• Good Running Flow in St. Gallen

    Tiina Kivelä

    As some might have guessed already, I’ve found my new swiss home in St. Gallen this spring. And in here I’ve also found myself more than enough on the running trails and roads. Back to basics, so to speak.

    While living in Interlaken, my original swiss basecamp, the choices for running were mainly flat to the lake / around the lake, or flat to Lauterbrunnen and up the almost 2000m to Kleine Scheideggen, like on the Jungfrau Marathon. Or then there was the killer steep uphill to Harder Kulm or likes (any HC uphill runner familiar with Strava should check and try the Harder Kulm segments and top times). And in dear Lapland, it was all slippery, snowy and icy the past half a year,  although beautiful, and the xc skiing was more tempting activity when it wasn’t too cold for any high-intensity outdoor activity whatsoever (more of the Lapland trails coming soon in a separate post).

    In St. Gallen on the other hand, it’s nicely rolling, downhill to the Lake Constance / Bodensee or up the mellow (well mellow in Swiss standards) hills on both sides of the town, which has made me run a lot again. In here and well, in this weather, it’s easy to gain km’s and even though not the easiest place in Switzerland to gain elevation, it’s not too big of a problem either. And with the elevation in here, you get kinda good views as well, to the lake and/or to he Alpstein massive and Appenzellerland. And without extra elevation, this time of the year, you get these pretty blossoming trees. Yes, those are the reason for the strange split times, hard to resist taking pics of the prettiest ones.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Basics of running in Switzerland

    As always in Switzerland, I run mainly on the wanderwege aka on the yellow signposted hiking trails (pic above), along which (and in the villages) you also find water posts for drinking, which is just so great. And if not with own snacks, carry some money for the restaurants and kiosks if and when on a long run; those aren’t too far from the trails either.

    You may find the trails on a map in here, ticking the box “hiking trails”, and as you see in the pic the signs also show the direction (and time!) to the nearest public transport station and train or bus. Sometimes I even do the Swiss train run; run a long way to one direction and then take the train back, as on Friday when I run 15km+ to Lake Constance from St. Gallen, a few km’s by the shore and then took the train back from Rorschach, which btw offers for less active sweaty visitors interesting Würth Haus Rorschach with some art and stuff.

    For tracking and inspiration (hopefully to others too) I’ve been tracking my running on Strava (links on the menu on side), though it’s been annoyingly buggy lately and therefore I’m now testing other apps and looking for suggestions on the best multi/mountain sports tracking app and compatible watch (iOS preferably) there is – please leave your comments and advice below or email me directly – any suggestions will be highly appreciated.

    And to not just ask but also give, I would be more than happy to help you if you are interested in running in Switzerland, so please just ask directly by email or leave your comments below. Or it would be also cool if you happen to come to Switzerland / St. Gallen / around and looking for a running mate and would let me know about it, so I could volunteer for running and after run drinks company (and no worries, the non-running readers and friends, the same trails and company works for hiking too, as always).

    If and when we don’t have the change to run or drink together the next weeks, I wish you all have as flowy spring as I have, running or whatever way and wherever you prefer. These weeks, as I finally have the time, I’ll come here with a lot of stories, way more than the past months, from Switzerland and Lapland. But before that, it’s time to give the running legs well deserved rest and work on the tan, as it’s promising amazingly beautiful and warm spring weekend in here.

    Take care, stay strong and talk to you soon!

  • BLOG
  • Season 2016/2017 – Skiing In Jungfrau Ski Region

    Tiina Kivelä

    See you in May 2017, she said on Friday,

    holding her brand new 2016/2017 season pass for Jungfrau Ski Region in her hand.*

    And what a start I got. 4 weeks after I was hiking here in T-shirt I was now skiing in knee-high powder. Not a bad start for a season, and definitely a good confirmation that the season pass for Jungfrau Ski Region is worth the money. Especially with the 50% local discount, including free local trains and busses and cable cars, and various discounts for other train rides, events and other ski resorts around the world. And with little extra the season pass can be extended to Adelboden even. Quite a nice deal, and as you can see from the pictures, awesome location for little getaway, just one hour train ride away from the current basecamp.

    Tiina Kivelä

    * The pass also includes ridiculously blurred face shot, which has already caused many laughs. Traveling incognito and keeping people happy, so to speak. Just like the stars of the old times, looking solitude in the Alps, and more precisely in places like the Hotel Bellevue Des Alpes in Kleine Scheidegg^ (“minor watershed”) mountain pass at an elevation of 2’061m. From here, it’s only one stop left, the top of Europe aka Jungfraujoch.

    Location: Kleine Scheidegg, Jungfrau Ski Region

  • BLOG
  • Seasons Change In Augsmatthorn

    Tiina Kivelä

    Yesterday was the first time I met these fellas, Alpensteinbocke (Alpine ibex) in their natural environment near Augsmatthorn. Or well, for me first time wherever. And what a day it generally was, though they were definitely the highlight, exceeding expectations, posing there like trying to own the Graubünden ones famous for their YouTube..

    But first; look at the frost! Winter is coming, at least in the Alps. I smelled the cold, I could feel the winter and that, if something, makes me feel home. Yes, I am strange; my comfort zone is ice and snow and cold, and I can’t wait for the ski season. And I shouldn’t need to say that northface is my kind of face, always, it’s just natural that when winter is calling, I must go. So there I was yesterday, waking up early to catch up with the first signs of winter and almost the first bus to Habkern, this cute little village nearby Interlaken. The 9h hike itself became something else than cute in the end, but that’s another story which I’ll tell you later. Let’s concentrate on the frost and steinbocks first.

    After hiking up from Habkern and the frosty northface of Augsmatthorn, balancing further on the narrow and slippery mountain ridge, I stumbled into the^ jolly Alpine ibex* fellas (alpensteinbocke). I guess they understood their Instagram potential very well, posing with Eiger, Mönch & Jungfrau in the background, some snoring, some seeming to think they had stumbled into wrong crowd themselves. This area around Lombach (part of Emmental, yes the cheese, alps) acts as kind of a reserve for them, species once almost disappeared from the planet* and therefore it’s extra nice to see them in their natural environment. Which also made me think (during soloing 9h one really had time to think) that when you are wild, your changes seeing other wild things are higher. And that if we all would be this wild, we wouldn’t need zoos… Or gyms either.


    Hike: Habkern Post – Augsmatthorn – Hardergrat – Harder Kulm – Unterseen – Interlaken, about 9h 

    Postbuss 106 Interlaken West – Habkern 2,60 CHF with Half -Fare Travel Card by SwissPass (Halbtax). 


    *After being extirpated from most areas by the 19th century, the Alpine ibex was successfully reintroduced to parts of its historical range and all individuals living today descend from the stock in Gran Paradiso National Park in Aosta Valley and from the neighbouring French valley of Maurienne(Wikipedia)

    Tiina Kivelä