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Italy dominates the Vertical Week 2024

SuuntoRun — 9 April 2024

The World Vertical Week has once again ignited our passion for uphill adventures, marking its tenth anniversary in style. Here are the results!

Suunto World Vertical Week, the thrilling celebration of the uphill challenge, united outdoor enthusiasts from around the globe in a collective pursuit of elevation gain on March 18–24. All human-powered activities by the participants were counted and every hill was turned into an opportunity to conquer new heights.

We have now analyzed the data to see which country and activity type climbed the most!


The usual suspects were on top of the country rankings

In the country rankings, the usual suspects – countries in the mountainous regions of Europe – were once again on top. This time Italy dethroned Austria for the number one spot with over 400 meters of ascent per activity on average. Switzerland also broke its way to the top three.

The only non-European nation in the top 10 was South Africa in ninth place. Greece made it to the top 10 for the first time.


Vertical Week 2024: Average ascent meters per nation

Average ascent meters by country


When looking at the total ascent, meaning adding up the ascent in all the activities in a nation for the Vertical Week, France took the top spot from Spain and Italy climbed past Austria on the third spot.

Top 10 for total ascent meters

  1. France
  2. Spain
  3. Italy
  4. Austria
  5. Germany
  6. Switzerland
  7. USA
  8. Poland
  9. United Kingdom
  10. Czech Republic


Skiers – and the Japanese trail runners – were above the rest

In the activity type rankings, there weren’t any major changes: ski touring activities had the biggest average ascent, followed by mountaineering and trail running. The average ascent for all the ski touring activities came close to the magical 1000-meter mark but was still a bit below the summit. Maybe next time!


Vertical Week 2024: Average ascent meters by activity type

Average ascent meters by activity type


While the skiers had the biggest days on average, when looking at individual activities with over 1000 meters of ascent, trail runners were in the lead. In 2023 the order was the other way round.

In the individual performances, four people really stood out: They all had tracked over 20.000 meters of human-powered ascent during the Vertical Week. Impressive!

And while looking at the big picture, many people seemed to push it more than last year: For a top 10% placing, you needed to climb 2275 meters during this year’s Vertical Week. That’s almost 373 meters more than in 2023.

The same change is visible in the top of the top: To make it to the top 3% of the Vertical Week participants, you needed to climb 4062 meters, 472 meters more than in 2023.

The country rankings winner Italy is very strong also in different activity type rankings. They earned a podium spot in six out of ten different categories!

Ski touring

  1. Slovakia 1160m
  2. Switzerland 1062m
  3. Poland 1051m
    (Average for all countries 953 m)

Whoop whoop, we have a new winner in the ski touring category! The Slovakian skiers ascended more than any other nation in any of the categories. It’s also clear that the 1000-meter mark is a clear goal for skiers, and the entire top 3 broke that limit.

Trail running

  1. Japan 1076m
  2. Italy 674m
  3. Greece 600m
    (Average for all countries 457 m)

This is amazing: The Japanese trail runners were the only ones breaking the 1000-meter mark in any other category than ski touring. They kept their well-deserved top spot in trail running for another year. Congratulations!


  1. Italy 865m
  2. Finland 838m
  3. France 799m
    (Average for all countries 633 m)

Italy continued their dominancy, but the second place was a surprise: How did such a flat country as Finland make its way to second place?

Mountain biking

  1. South Africa 645m
  2. Italy 547m
  3. Slovenia 540m
    (Average for all countries 393 m)

The South Africans were active on the bike, climbed more than any other nation and ensured that also the African continent was presented in the rankings.

Gravel cycling

  1. United Kingdom 656m
  2. United States 440m
  3. Italy 421m
    (Average for all countries 298 m)

Gravel cycling was a new addition on the list this time. And, not surprisingly, the ascent meters for gravel cycling fell somewhere between mountain biking and cycling. The UK took the top spot in the activity ranking clearly.


  1. Spain 435m
  2. Italy 335m
  3. Slovenia 286m
    (Average for all countries 210 m)

Everyone knows that cycling in Spain in the spring is great. And they seem to know it themselves, too!


  1. Japan 850m
  2. Switzerland 575m
  3. Austria 541m
    (Average for all countries 351 m)

The Japanese took the top spot in two categories, trekking and trail running. Two category wins was only matched by Italy (number one in mountaineering and hiking).


  1. Italy 438m
  2. Slovakia 386m
  3. Slovenia 351m
    (Average for all countries 240 m)

Yet another category with a strong Italian performance. Forza!

Nordic skiing

  1. Switzerland 363m
  2. Austria 324m
  3. Norway 305m
    (Average for all countries 216 m)

While the top three countries in the cross country skiing category were expected, what was surprising was the change in the podium lineup from the previous year: None of these three were on the podium last year.


  1. Czech Republic 152m
  2. Switzerland 138m
  3. South Africa 130m
    (Average for all countries 95 m)

Running, the most popular Suunto activity in general, is not focused on the vert. Despite the smaller numbers, there still is a winner: Czech Republic took the number one spot!