From the city streets to the mountain tops, the new Epic Innsbruck episode takes us trail running from Innsbruck City Centre to the summit of the Patscherkofel mountain
It has been over a year since we filmed this episode of Epic Innsbruck. The day after filming this episode was the day the authorities announced that everything would shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak, so the Innsbruck Tourism team and I decided that it was not the right time to release this video.
That was back in March 2020 and the world is a different place today. As restrictions ease in Europe, we are happy to finally share this with you and hope it brings positive energy and inspiration to keep moving.
I believe that no matter what is going on in the world, it is important to continue forwards, keep healthy and be happy. This is of course easier said that done sometimes, especially after what we have all experienced the past year. Each day is a new day, onwards and upwards.
The story of an Alpine Trail Running epic
Snowboarder Manuela Mandl – who featured in mine and Daniela Hochmuth’s freeride movie People Who Rize – introduced me to Philipp Ausserhofer and Daniel Jochum at the Julbo stand at the 2020 Alpinmesse.
We spoke about what was possible and put our thinking caps on about the story. A few weeks later we met for a coffee and went through the details. We needed to work out how I the filmmaker could chase these quick cats in the amount of time we had available. From the streets to the peak was the plan!
Patscherkofel agreed to provide us with transport. Normally the athletes would run from the city to the peak in one swoop, without the use of lifts or a snowmobile. Filming slows everything down (and I’m no way as fast or fit as these athletes), so we split the main filming scenes into two – the 1st session was the early morning shoot on the mountain and then the city and join between city and mountain was the 2nd session.
The early bird catches the worm
The most important shot for me was the sunrise shot. At the time of shooting, sunrise was at 6.30 am, so I wanted to make sure we were on the peak of Patcherkofel at 6.00am so I can make some test shots with the drone and get ready.
My alarm clock went off at 3am, I jumped into the shower, got dressed for the cold mountain, grabbed my already packed kit and off I went to pick up the guys.
We met Christian Norer nice and early, the man in charge of the lifts at Patscherkofel. We filmed the first couple of mountain scenes then packed the PistenBully and headed towards some distinctive parts of the pistes.
The moon was shining down on us, so we were able to capture some epic shots.
Onwards and upwards
The winding track to the peak gets a little bit tight so we switched to a smaller snow groomer at the top lift station (Bergstation).
From a starry black night, to a deep blue then purple, the sun was on its way and so were we. 20 minutes later and we were there.
After roughly finding the sun rise position, Philipp and Daniel patiently waited for the right moment. I called the Innsbruck Airport tower to get permission to fly the drone.
This was already done a few days before via email, but they always request a phone call before and after each flight – even though Patscherkofel seems like it is in the middle of nowhere, especially when at the top and over the other side, it is actually still in the controlled airspace of Innsbruck Airport.
The sun’s rays peeked over the peaks “and action”, we were in business for the shot we anticipated the most.
Philipp and Daniel started to run as the drone tracked with them increasing in altitude, wow what a moment! Definitely worth getting up early for!
After filming a few more shots on the peak, including another epic sun glare money shot, we completed the mountain scenes.
To make it look like the guys started really early in the morning from the city centre, we met again on the same day, but in the evening. We kind of filmed the whole video back to front, but it worked really well, can you tell the difference?
We chose most locations where there wouldn’t be too many people at about 8pm and in the busy areas, such as Marktplatz, we waited for the right moment to capture the scenes so that it looked like it was 2am/3am.
After filming some of the iconic spots in the city, we then filmed the joining parts on the way up to Patscherkofel ski area. Half road, half track is what we wanted and I’m happy with the results.
That’s a wrap
After a very long day, we successfully completed the scenes and captured even more epicness than expected.
Filming the scenes in different orders doesn’t happen on every shoot, but when it does, it’s a fun challenge to make it all fit together seamlessly.
Thanks to Philipp and Daniel for the epic run!
As the pandemic restrictions ease further, we have some more Epic Innsbruck episodes coming your way. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, check out the epic history of this video series that I’ve been working on with Innsbruck Tourism, epic athletes and epic crews since late 2017.