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World Vertical Week 2017 Big Data: See who stands on the top!

SuuntoRun — 10 March 2017

The second annual World Vertical Week was held last week, between February 27 and March 5. The goal was to find out where in the world Suunto community ascend the most and who are the queens and kings of the hill.

The World Vertical Week is about collecting vertical meters for your country and your sport. All moves in all human-powered outdoor sports count. To keep the playing field level, we were only comparing averages. A cumulative number of ascent meters per country would not have made sense as the population and number of Suunto App users varies.

Skiers are still quite clearly the queens and kings of the hill with 849 meters of ascent in average. The mountaineers climbed on the second spot with 636 meters and the trail runners rounded out the top three with their 400 ascent meters.

Actually the order of the activities remained almost identical compared to 2016: the only difference was that mountain bikers passed the snowshoers in the listings. 

Average ascents in various activities

  1. Ski touring 849m
  2. Mountaineering 636m
  3. Trail running 400m
  4. Mountain biking 362m
  5. Snow shoeing 316m
  6. Trekking 293m
  7. Cycling 236m
  8. Cross country skiing 222m
  9. Running 104m



Now that we know that ski touring is the sport with the biggest average ascents, it is time to dig deeper. The snowy winter in the Pyrenees has boosted the skiing spirits of the Spanish and they were the only athletes to cross the thousand vertical meter mark – in any country and any activity. Felicitaciones, españoles!

Top 10 countries in ski touring

  1. Spain 1034m
  2. Switzerland 938m
  3. Slovakia 936m
  4. Germany 927m
  5. Andorra 916m
  6. Italy 909m
  7. USA 883m
  8. Austria 877m
  9. Poland 874m
  10. France 858m



Mountaineering was second in the activity listings. But the leading nation within that activity was a slight surprise: United Kingdom surely has a long mountaineering tradition, but only a few – at least here in the Suunto office – would have bet their money for the island nation. The UK was not among the top mountaineering nations last year, but still they took the first place with 836 meters in 2017.

Top 10 countries in mountaineering

  1. United Kingdom 836m
  2. Italy 772m
  3. Switzerland 749m
  4. Germany 713m
  5. Japan 685m
  6. France 683m
  7. Austria 655m
  8. Taiwan 620m
  9. USA 600m
  10. South Korea 575m



It was clear already last year that China, Hong Kong and Japan are strong in the trail running segment. This year they occupied the top three with excellent performances and clear margins.

Maybe having the Vertical Week in winter limits the possibilities for trail running in mountainous areas in Europe and North-America but still the Asian performance was impressive. Great climbing, China, Hong Kong and Japan!

Top 10 countries in trail running

  1. China 887m
  2. Hong Kong 808m
  3. Japan 711m
  4. Italy 572m
  5. Portugal 540m
  6. Spain 524m
  7. United Kingdom 509m
  8. Slovenia 469m
  9. Greece 468m
  10. Austria 437m



We also analysed the data for all human powered outdoor sports and compared the average ascents between countries. The margins were tight, but still there was one above the rest: The Austrians ascended on average more than any other nation, 320 meters per every workout tracked during the Vertical Week. 

Top 10 countries overall 

  1. Austria 320m
  2. Italy 298m
  3. Switzerland 287m
  4. Spain 261m
  5. Slovenia 261m
  6. Portugal 258m
  7. Hong Kong 247m
  8. France 240m
  9. Norway 235m
  10. Slovakia 218m



And to give you even more to speculate here are the top countries in the other activities mentioned above. 


Top 10 countries in mountain biking

  1. Italy 515m
  2. Slovenia 479m
  3. Spain 471m
  4. United Kingdom 465m
  5. Austria 461m
  6. Switzerland 443m
  7. South Africa 416m
  8. France 370m
  9. Germany 367m
  10. Poland 366m


Top 10 countries in snow shoeing

  1. Italy 564m
  2. Andorra 530m
  3. Austria 510m
  4. Germany 429m
  5. France 424m
  6. Switzerland 345m
  7. USA 228m
  8. Spain 213m
  9. Canada 178m
  10. Finland 163m


Top 10 countries in trekking

  1. France 406m
  2. Italy 397m
  3. Austria 353m
  4. Poland 322m
  5. Spain 307m
  6. USA 274m
  7. Germany 271m
  8. Norway 243m
  9. United Kingdom 229m
  10. China 141m


Top 10 countries in cycling

  1. Spain 405m
  2. Italy 403m
  3. South Africa 393m
  4. Colombia 392m
  5. Portugal 355m
  6. Cyprus 332m
  7. Switzerland 328m
  8. Czech Republic 308m
  9. France 298m
  10. Austria 294m


Top 10 countries in cross country skiing

  1. Czech Republic 391m
  2. France 312m
  3. Poland 286m
  4. Norway 270m
  5. Sweden 266m
  6. Italy 260m
  7. Austria 252m
  8. Canada 225m
  9. USA 222m
  10. Germany 221m


Top 10 countries in running

  1. Portugal 157m
  2. Hong Kong 151m
  3. Slovenia 148m
  4. Switzerland 136m
  5. France 128m
  6. Spain 127m
  7. Norway 126m
  8. New Zealand 124m
  9. USA 117m
  10. Czech Republic 115m


Main image © Patitucci Photo