Suunto’s annual World Vertical Week has been growing in popularity year after year. Last week, on February 27 – March 5, over 153.000 Suunto users accepted the challenge and set out to gain as many vertical meters as they could. That’s 22% up from last year! Thank you everyone for joining.
During the Vertical Week, every human-powered outdoor activity counted towards the results. In the activity type rankings, there weren’t any major changes: ski touring activities had once again the biggest average ascent, followed by mountaineering and trail running.
Also, the country rankings follow quite a usual pattern: the two top spots for highest average ascents are owned by Austria and Italy – just like last year. In the third position, we have a new nation, Slovakia. Congrats! Portugal and Colombia are new names in the top 10.
Total ascent per country 2023
When looking at the total ascent per country, we can see a new leader: France dethroned Spain and took the top spot. Austria, Italy and Germany round out the top five.
Big – and huge – days are more popular than ever
When digging deeper into the data we start to see something interesting: big days out in the mountains and hills are getting more popular. The number of “1000-meter days” has grown by a whopping 75% from last year. During last week’s activation, Suunto community tracked over 12.000 activities that had over 1.000 meters of total ascent.
The same trend continues with activities that had over 2.000 meters of ascent: that number increased by 76% to over 2.000 activities. The number of really, really big days – days that had more than 3.500 meters of ascent – doubled from last year!
This same trend is visible also when looking at the data from another perspective: 176 participants collected more than 10.000 meters of total ascent during the week. That is twice as much as last year. Impressive!
As the days get bigger, the activity types change slightly: The biggest portion, 40%, of 1000-meter days was ski touring while trail running covered 25% of the activities. In the 2000-meter days ski touring and trail running was almost equal at 32% and 30% respectively. A surprise comes with the 3500-meter – or “10000-foot” – days: there suddenly running has the biggest share with 28% of the activities followed by ski touring (22%) and trail running (21%). Some runners have really pushed it last week!
Country rankings for different activities
Ski touring (avg for all countries 929m)
- Switzerland 1.033m
- Austria 1.005m
- Italy 994m
- Spain 940m
- Germany 936m
The 1000-meter mark is a clear goal for skiers. Switzerland is in the top spot – just like last year.
Mountaineering (avg for all countries 676m)
- Czech Republic 788m
- Switzerland 760m
- Germany 755m
- Japan 717m
- Poland 699m
Mountaineering has a new winner: The Czech Republic climbed to the top spot for the first time!
Trail running (avg for all countries 421m)
- Japan 852m
- Portugal 707m
- Italy 620m
- South Korea 536m
- Spain 528m
- Switzerland 508m
- Austria 443m
- Slovakia 413m
- Slovenia 391m
- Thailand 382m
Japanese trail runners crushed it again! Also, other Asian nations, like South Korea and Thailand proved that uphill is the way to run in that corner of the world.
Mountain biking (avg for all countries 387m)
- Italy 516m
- Spain 515m
- Portugal 453m
- Switzerland 446m
- United Kingdom 386 m
In mountain biking, Italy rose from the second spot last year to number one this time. Forza!
Hiking (avg for all countries 221m)
- Italy 441m
- Slovakia 426m
- South Korea 373m
- Thailand 349m
- Japan 337m
Another crown for Italy – and another activity ranking where Asian countries are strong.
Cycling (avg for all countries 182m)
- Spain 417m
- Portugal 394m
- Italy 369m
- Slovenia 306m
- South Africa 248m
Spain, the top destination for winter cycling in Europe, was not a surprise leader in the cycling ranking. A welcome addition to the list was South Africa, nicely adding yet another continent to the top lists. Along with several European countries we had nations from Asia, Africa, South and North America amongst the top performers. Awesome!
Nordic skiing (avg for all countries 180m)
- Japan 418m
- Slovakia 411m
- Spain 377m
- Czech Republic 357m
- Poland 335m
This list looks quite different from last year! Japan takes its second top spot in a slightly surprising category to complement its win in the trail running category. The usual suspects for Nordic skiing, Norway (277m), Sweden (209m) and Finland (125m), did not reach the top of the rankings this time.
Running (avg for all countries 100m)
- Switzerland 157m
- Slovenia 137m
- Portugal 131m
- Czech Republic 127m
- Norway 125m
Running, the most popular activity overall, is not the king of Vertical Week: its average ascent is the smallest, exactly 100 meters. However, in the leading nation, Switzerland, the average ascent for running was over 50% more than that.