Innsbruck is a city of tobogganers – many of whom exhibit quite distinctive characteristics.

It really does exist – a city surrounded by toboggan runs. Its name? Innsbruck. The result of this plethora of toboggan runs?  Supply creates demand in all its weird and wonderful facets, i.e.  people who like to go tobogganing every weekend. And no two tobogganists do it the same way.  Here I – a self-proclaimed philosopher of the art of tobogganing – have put together a summary of the classic ‘tobogganing types’. And I’d also like to share with you some of my favourites toboggan runs (translated from German).

The health-conscious tobogganer

Sport and the great outdoors are very important for him. He likes being outside and exercising to keep himself healthy. A shandy in the mountain hut is allowed now and then, but he prefers to eat salad rather than dumplings or schnitzel. He’s never in too much of a hurry and enjoys stopping for a break to savour the beauty of the winter landscape and the tranquillity of the mountains.

Gesundheitsrodler. Foto: TVB Innsbruck

Health-conscious tobogganer. Photo: TVB Innsbruck

 

The sports-freak tobogganer

For him it’s all about performance and stamina, always occupied with the question, “How much faster was I this time?”. He always has all the latest gear; he wears functional, Gore-Tex clothing; the carbon runners on his high-tech sports sled (actually more of a luge than a sled) are always waxed to perfection. He’s usually in a hurry, manages only a short, crisp greeting, walks up quickly then sleds down straight away at breakneck speed. He doesn’t drink any alcohol and he only enters the mountain hut briefly to get changed.

 

Sportrodler. Foto: TVB Innsbruck

Sports-freak tobogganer. Photo: TVB Innsbruck

 

The foodie (and drinkie!) tobogganer

For many the journey is a reward in itself – not so for this tobogganer. The reward is the mountain hut and to reach his destination quicker, he sometimes even resorts to taking the ski lift. Eating and drinking are his favourite past-times, eating and drinking a lot in particular, sometimes even an awful lot! Snow conditions, walking times and weather play only a minor role in his decision as to where he goes. The food menu is the deciding factor. He loves to strike up a conversation with whoever is sitting at the same table, even if he doesn’t know them – or now does know them because he’s in the hut so often. A convivial, sociable companion.

Hüttenhocker. Foto: TVB Innsbruck

Foodie (and drinkie) tobogganer: Photo: TVB Innsbruck

 

The family tobogganer

Father, mother and children, well-behaved ones who walk along happily with their parents, and bored, grumpy ones who whine and whinge all the way. Tobogganing is, after all,  a family activity and therefore several families often go together – the men in one group usually, the women in another and the children in another. The women talk about women’s stuff – holidays, food, children, husbands, fashion, recipes, TV series, blockbusters, nursery school, school and similar worldly topics. The men talk about ‘man stuff’ … or compete to see who can walk up fastest.

 

Familienrodler. Foto: TVB Innsbruck

Family tobogganers. Photo: TVB Innsbruck

 

Night-time tobogganer

The night-time tobogganer only takes his sled out at night – as the name suggests. Everyone, at some point in their lives, tries out night tobogganing, out of their own free will – or not as the case may be. But the real, bona fide night tobogganer only ever goes at night – otherwise he wouldn’t be a night tobogganer, would he? He always has his headlamp with him, in case the run isn’t floodlit. So, there you have it.

Nachtrodler. Foto: TVB Innsbruck

Night tobogganer. Photo. TVB Innsbruck

 

The social tobogganer

The social tobogganer never goes alone, but always in a group comprising at least three people. Via Facebook and Whatsapp groups he mobilises friends, acquaintances and others to join him. The social tobogganers are the ones who block the run, constantly stop and stand around, chat with one another and are equally sociable up in the mountain hut. They never sit alone on a toboggan; there are usually two of them. They tend to toboggan rather slowly, screaming and laughing all the way down. Due to their difficulties steering and staying on the toboggan run they have a habit of disappearing in the deep snow.

 

Gesellschaftsrodler. Foto: TVB Innsbruck

Social tobogganers. Photo: TVB Innsbruck

The bin bag tobogganer

The bin bag tobogganer doesn’t really toboggan at all. He prefers to walk up a hill and slide down all the way to the bottom in 15 seconds flat. Instead of a sledge his ‘vehicle’ is a plastic bin bag. Like a perpetual motion machine he goes up and down, and up and down, and up and down… Little children love it, but Innsbruck’s kids are dragged up real, long toboggan runs with mum and dad from the age of three. Sometimes the bin bag tobogganer takes the whole procedure a step further and swaps his plastic bag for a real toboggan  – but he still stays on his hill. I, too, took my first tobogganing ‘steps’ on a bin bag…

Sacklrodler. Foto: TVB Innsbruck

Bin-back tobogganers. Photo: TVB Innsbruck

 

My philosophical conclusion: No matter what kind of tobogganer you are, tobogganing in and around Innsbruck offers a whole lot of fun! Therefore, I have put together a list of my 7 favourite toboggan runs suitable for all tobogganing types.
Juifenalm
Good food and a lovely view

Ascent: 600 metres uphill elevation
Distance: 5 km
Walking time: 1 hour 20 mins
Food & drink: Juifenalm, open from 15th December (subject to snow conditions)
Floodlit: no
Toboggan rental: no

Rumer Alm
Right on Innsbruck’s doorstep

Ascent: 500 metres of elevation
Distance: 3.9 km
Walking time: 1 hour 10 mins
Food & drink: Rumer Alm and Enzianhütte
Floodlit: no
Toboggan rental: Rumer Alm

Mutterer Alm
Family-friendly toboggan run for those who prefer to take it easy

Ascent: 363 metres of elevation, or you can take the lift
Distance: 2.7 km
Walking time: 1 hour
Food & drink: Mutterer Alm, Nockhof
Floodlit: no
Toboggan rental: Mutterer Alm, Sport 2000 Pfurtscheller

Rangger Köpfl
The longest toboggan run accessible by lift

Ascent: 930 metres of elevation
Distance: 8.1 km
Walking time: 2 hours 30 mins
Food & drink:  Gasthaus Stiglreith, Gasthaus Sulzstich, Rosskogelhütte
Floodlit: Tuesdays and Fridays until 11 pm between the Rosskogelhütte mountain hut and to the valley
Toboggan rental: Sport Haider

Patscher Alm
On Innsbruck’s local mountain

Ascent: 646 metres of elevation
Distance: 4.8 km
Walking time: 1 hour 20 mins
Food & drink:  Heiligwasser, Patscher Alm
Floodlit: no
Toboggan rental: no

Axamer Lizum
Easy-going trail through the valley

Ascent: 540 metres of elevation
Distance: 3.9 km
Walking time: 1 hour 30 mins
Food & drink:  Axamer Lizum ski area car park
Floodlit: until midnight
Toboggan rental: Hotel Bergheim, Axamer Lizum

Kemater Alm
For ‘fast and furious’ sports-freak tobogganers

Ascent: 673 metres of elevation
Distance: 5.7 km
Walking time: 1 hour 20 mins
Food & drink:  Kemater Alm
Floodlit: no
Toboggan rental: Kemater Alm

Details on further toboggan runs in and around Innsbruck can be found on the Innsbruck Tourism Association homepage.

Further information

Toboggan.Rental

Many of the mountain huts rent out toboggans. And a lot of hotels also offer them free of charge. Toboggans can also be rented from most of the ski rental outlets, e.g. Die Börse (ski and snowboard rental) in the city centre.

Contact

DIE BOERSE 

Leopoldstraße 4
6020 Innsbruck
T. +43 / 512 / 581742
E. office@dieboerse.at
Opening times
Winter: Mon – Sat 7.30 am – 6.30 pm, Sun & public holidays 7.30 am – 12 noon and 2 pm – 6.30 pm

Toboggan.Buying

If you want to purchase a good sports toboggan, then Innsbruck is a good place to do so. There’s even a toboggan manufacturer – Gasser Rodel – very close to the city. The two-times Olympic champions Andreas and Wolfgang Linger from Absam near Innsbruck won their titles on a luge made by Gasser Rodel.

Contact:
Gasser Rodel GmbH
Zieglstadl 15
A – 6143 Mühlbachl, near Innsbruck
T. +43 (0) 5273 / 6243

www.gasserrodel.at

Link tips:

www.winterrodeln.org
www.innsbruck.info