Running trails and skiing lines in the Alps is more than an annual holiday for sponsored athlete Philipp.
Words: Alex Brown. Article appeared in Advanture Magazine issue 01: Pilot Issue.
In unity with the seasons. You will find him trail running stunning track in the summer, and ski touring some beautiful routes during the winter. His base camp? Nothing more suitable than a VW California packed full with top of the range equipment to get him up the mountain as fast as possible.
AM: Hi Philipp, we are glad to have caught you while not in the mountains!
Philipp: Hi guys, haha true. A rare moment, so let‘s enjoy the few minutes we have down here in the valley with coffee and cake in my van.
AM: Tell us a little bit about the environment of your local area?
Philipp: I grew up in a small village in South Tyrol, called Weißenbach, and in my eyes, it is the home of skimo. The Ahrntal is a small valley with more than 80 peaks higher than 3000m, including glaciers and it’s a really technical terrain. It was the perfect spot to grow up around and to fall in love with trail running and ski mountaineering. With the decision to study pharmacy I changed my home base to Innsbruck. It is also great for both work and training.
AM: So, for someone who loves to train in the mountains, you do not need to travel far! What are the benefits for you in owning a VW California?
Philipp: That‘s true. I have the privilege to live within a mountain community. In Innsbruck I found a perfect home base with a crazy back land: the famous Nordkette or the Kalkkögel near Axamer Lizum, places like this are providing me perfect trails to train hard and to spend a lot of time outside. Even the Swiss and Bavarian Alps and even my home-mountains in Ahrntal are reachable within two hours drive. Last summer I decided to buy a Van, a VW California T5 which became my mobile base. Honestly, it was the best decision I made in the last years, it gives me a huge amount of freedom and it‘s much more than just a gear locker, or a place to sleep.
AM: How is it to use the VW California as your base camp, either for early morning starts or helping to stay out later once the sun has set?
Philipp: This sort of freedom I was talking about is the most valuable thing if you own a van. It‘s this possibility to escape when the world gets too stressful and noisy. This feeling of making every place to your temporary home for new adventures. With the VW California, I’m free to leave home whenever I want, to bring some friends with me, to adapt travel plans at the last moments in case of any significant weather changes. Honestly, nothing beats that „hey let‘s go to the valley and stay there for a weekend“ vibe, wondering about starry nights and absorbing stunning sunrises so easily.
AM: How is it to base from the campervan, during competitions?
Philipp: 2018 I started with racing some competitions and honestly, it went surprisingly well. Getting some podiums in the first season was awesome, but I got also some injuries and recognised that it‘s not just about hard training. It‘s a lot about recovery, nutrition and those moments of relaxation, like coffee and cake now! Especially for such racing days owning a campervan is a very big advantage: arriving the day before a race without stress, having the van as a calm space to relax in before the start, and I can easily stay a day longer if the after-race party is a good one!
AM: What are your plans for 2020?
Philipp: Now, I have a few mountain climbing projects in mind, as well as a few video shoots. However, in March it‘s again time to focus on the new trail running season. It will be my third season and I am really excited and motivated to turn it into my first pro-season.
AM: What advice can you give our readers to encourage them out and into the mountains?
Philipp: head off – heart on and just enjoy! Let your kindness out and give your attention to the little things that happen during the trip, the sunsets and sunrises, the birds waking you up in the morning, the raindrops running over your window. Just enjoy every second of your day to the fullest and leave all your problems aside for a while, there is no space for that in your van. All of these best moments can only be experienced in a van, parked in the middle of nowhere… Also be sure to pack a few good books, some tasty coffee and a piece of a home-made cake. At least this is all I need… AM
Follow Philipp on Instagram and say hi to this Advanture athlete @theflyingflip