Even though Thomas has the mountains right in front of his door, his eyes are always sparkling when he is going up a steep via ferrata or standing on a summit. Being a komoot Pioneer, he is always out exploring, finding the most exciting outdoor spots in his region so he can recommend them to you. We enjoyed talking to Thomas, hearing why he discovered his passion for mountaineering rather late and what his perfect Tour looks like.
Hi Thomas! Tell us, who are you?
Well, I am Thomas, I am 36 years old and I live in Vorarlberg, the most western and second smallest federal state of Austria. I work in the online marketing industry and therefore, like many of us, have to live with the drawback that I am sitting all day and exercise is going short.
Due to a serious disc prolapse and the following surgery a couple of years ago, I have been advised to quit running, which was my favorite hobby back then. So I had to find something else. And one day, I discovered mountaineering. That was around the same time I found a blog of a fellow countryman with many tours I had never heard about and – drum roll – discovered komoot. The blog inspired me and I rely on komoot for navigation ever since.
What do you like about your region?
Vorarlberg might not be the land of unlimited possibilities, but it does have two crucial advantages. On one hand, the quality of life is very high, it’s not stressful at all, it has all the amenities of modern life and is in a great location to use it as a base to explore Europe. When it gets to nature, we have a little bit of everything: Lush meadows in the valley, beautiful Lake Constance in the North and our mountains in the East and South, with perfectly prepared hiking trails and skiing slopes. I am very fond of this mix and wouldn’t want to miss it.
What does being active and outdoors mean to you?
I would explain it with a mix of 20 percent athletic challenge, 30 percent relaxation for the body and mind and 50 percent of pure endorphines. The latter, because I simply love discovering new tours. This feeling reminds me of Christmas, what it was like to unwrap the presents as a little child.
What does your perfect Tour look like?
I love being active in my immediate surroundings in places, that I have known for a while but where I will discover new spots regularly. A lot of great things are located right in fron of my door, most importantly our Alps. So my personal formula for a perfect tour looks something like this:
Litte effort + wide eyes = precisely my taste.
Thank you, Thomas. We wish you all the best for your future adventures!
Thomas also told us about his favorite Highlights:
The Hohe Kugel might not be a big thing to outsiders, but it is my backyard mountain and therefore deserves the first place in this list, naturally. It can also be reached via beautiful trails by people who are less athletic without a problem, you can choose between long and flat or short and steep trails. On top of that, Hohe Kugel has a sensational 360° view, even though it is a relatively low summit, but there’s no trees or hills that interrupt the panorama.
Tip: If you’re in good shape, you can reach the summit in 45 min, starting at Gasthof Millrütte, hiking straight through the forest. Enjoy the sunrise. Or the sunset. Or both.
It’s also great for hiking in the winter, starting at Fraxern, hiking past Alpe Maisäß towards the summit – hard to beat on clear winter days with snowshoes on your feet.
Like all of the Alpstein region, this place has an exceptionally beautiful mountain backdrop: You’ll find anything you want for a nice mountain tour in Swiss perfection. From alphorn blowers to singing hikers to free-running ponies and cows, crystal clear mountain lakes and an alpine panorama as far as you can see. It has anything you can wish for, but of course the word has gotten around by now and you hardly every are alone up there – still a must see!
Another hidden gem that’s not far from the valley. When hiking up the Frödisch river for a couple of kilometers into the mountains, you’ll be in the middle of this gorge pretty soon. It ends with a beautiful waterfall, which has dug itself into the mountain for centuries.
It’s especially worth a visit on hot summer days, when you can swim underneath the waterfall. The weather needs to be extraordinarily good however, because the water of the river is ice-cold. If you want to hike even further, you can follow the riverbed for many more kilometers, until it’ll intersect with a panoramic circuit, on which you can hike around the small river valley a couple of hundred meters higher.
I am a big fan of uncomplicated hikes with short journeys to the trail head. The Bocksberg is a small, humble mountain near the Rhein valley, special for one reason: It is extremely versatile. Not more than ten minutes away from the valley you’ll find what you usually need to look for in many separate hikes: ridge walks, short via ferratas, dizzy rock ladders, beautiful all-around views on the summit, lush meadows – and all of that in just about one and a half hours of walking.
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