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Our Favorite Photos of 2023

Our Favorite Photos of 2023

Dec 26, 2023

Every year we say we’ve had a tremendous year. And every year we mean it.

Each year features new special guests, wonderful groups, and exploring a variety of regions. 

The wonderful reality of the situation is that it isn’t too hard to have a great time here at Run the Alps!

This year was no different. We shared the trails with special guests like Courtney Dauwalter, Mirna Valerio, Elyse Kopecky, Meg Mackenzie, and so many others. Hundreds of trail runners of all levels from around the world joined us to be a part of it all, too! From our home in Chamonix to Switzerland’s Berner Oberland, Italy’s Dolomites and countless places in between, we got out there. And through it all, the best staff and guides kept us all going. Whether you were a guest on one of our trips, an alum from years past, or a casual follower, we’re glad you’re a part of our Run the Alps trail running family. 

It’s been a busy year. We’re happy to have a chance to catch our breath and take a look back. Join us.

Here are a dozen of our favorite photos from summer 2023:

Photo: Sam Hill

Tour du Mont Blanc – France, Italy, Switzerland

Our guide Gary, pictured here, has run or hiked the Tour du Mont Blanc 58 times! And he’ll be running it a few more times with us next summer, too.

“Three Countries, three cultures, three distinct personalities. Throw in the great food and comfy accommodations along with the breathtaking scenery, and you have a recipe for world class trail running adventures,” Gary says. “And every mile that you run around the ‘TMB,’ you know that the feet of the most famous trail runners in the world have landed where your feet are landing.”

You can run this classic tour as a guest on one of our Guided TMB trips, go Self-Guided where we handle all the details and you just run, or even speed through in just a few days with our self-guided Express TMB.

Photo: Kim Strom

Grand Bernese Oberland Traverse – Switzerland

Our inaugural Grand Bernese Oberland Traverse was a great success! A group of five strong women and Run the Alps’ guide Heather set off on an epic point-to-point trail run across the Swiss Bernese Mountain range. Crossing this section of the Swiss Alps, we saw the region’s most famous peaks, bluest lakes, and deepest valleys, plus plenty of cows, sheep, and goats grazing the hillside pastures.

The tour starts in the east at a high mountain farming area called Schwarzwaldalp, passes under the famed Eiger North Face, and then crosses high cols and mountain pastures to reach the mountain resort of Gstaad, not far from Lake Geneva. Along the way, we got to explore beautiful and quiet variations to the route, as we want. 

Oh, and let’s not forget cozy hut stops and more melted cheese than you can imagine!

Starting in the summer of 2024, this route now has a Self-Guided option too.

Photo: Sam Hill

Mirnavator in the Alps – France, Italy, Switzerland

Mirna Valerio, aka “the Mirnavator,” brought together a group of twelve wonderful women who are sometimes not seen as trail runners due to their speed, body shape, or ethnicity. There were lots of firsts, such as running in the rain, hiking rocky trails, trying trail running-specific clothes, and seeing other people who looked like them on the trails. We all had a blast running trails in France, Italy, and Switzerland. Here’s a snippet of what Mirna had to say about the trip:

“We made new friends and reconnected with old ones, and talked about changes to make in our lives, and how we appreciated the opportunity to be in such beautiful natural spaces moving and even loving our bodies as they did what bodies do.

The conversations we had were scintillating and hilarious, deep and probing, light and sometimes existential. There’s something about moving up, through, on, around, and down mountains that does something to you and allows you to let your guard down a bit.”

Read more about it in this Tour Story.

Photo: Kim Strom

Bernese Oberland – Switzerland

With thoughtful guidance and input from our pal Mirna Valerio, Run the Alps is developing new tours for trail runners who don’t want to run as far or do as much vert as our traditional tours. Follow Run the Alps on Instagram, Facebook, and our newsletter to hear about these additions! The first new tours will be in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland and Italy’s Dolomites, and we’ll be offering both guided and self-guided options. 

Photo: Martina Valmassoi

Courtney Comes to the Dolomites – Italy

One of our favorite places to run and with one of our favorite runners of all time. 

Our guide Bruno, tried to come up with the best moments from this past September’s trip: “I can’t list highlights of this tour without mentioning the most obvious: getting to spend so much time with our amazing special guest, Courtney Dauwalter! It was such a pleasure to meet both Courtney and her partner Kevin. They were great fun and up for everything, both on and off the trail. She took the time to chat with everybody in the group and graciously fielded plenty of questions about her life, running, and her busy year!”

Thanks for joining us in the Italian Dolomites, Courtney!

Photo: Sam Hill

Elyse Kopecky: Run Fast, Eat Slow Women’s Retreat – France

Time in the mountains forges connections. We love that about our trips. Friendships, new and old, are one of the best parts of our tours. Photo from our overnight at the Albert Premier hut above the Chamonix valley on our tour with Elyse Kopecky. Plus, we’re looking forward to sharing another great trip with Elyse in 2024! 

Have we mentioned how much we enjoy trips with special guest runners? Not only do we share a love of trail running, but typically connect on other levels as well, and on our trips with Elyse, that extra connection is through healthy eating and delicious recipes.

Photo: Milo Zanecchia 

La Suche, above Courmayeur, Italy

Behind the scenes – stopping to refill water in a quiet hamlet high above the Aosta valley. Besides running along on our guided tours, Run the Alps has also been working on a new project: a trail running guide to the Mont Blanc region! The book will be released with Swiss publisher Helvetiq next spring. Our guide includes 30 runs ranging from 10km to 30km, gentle to uber-challenging, along with trail running history, info on races in the region, and much more! 

Photo: Kim Strom

Bernese Oberland – Switzerland

Many of our guests go self-guided. If you prefer a smaller group of your friends or a partner, and a bit more solitude, it’s a great way to run through the Alps! With a self-guided tour you can explore a new area on your own terms and at your own pace. Run the Alps’ self-guided tours are listed here.

Photo: Sam Hill

Chamonix based tours – France

The Albert Premier hut at the end of the day: sunset, stillness, and the Le Tour glacier. High above the far end of the Chamonix valley near the Swiss border, this is one of our favorite stops. Sometimes we spend the night, other times we just pass through for a cafe au lait and a piece of homemade cake. Either way, it’s a special moment to simply stop and be in awe.

In 2024, we’re headed up here with Tim Tollefson and it’s also a stop on our Culinary Trail Tour of the Alps!

Photo: Mark Brightwell

Via Valais – Switzerland

Nothing makes us feel small like being surrounded by some of the most stunning 4000-meter peaks as we run through the Swiss Alps on the Via Valais. The Via Valais travels through steep, rugged, mountain terrain, while climbing and descending over 2000m daily. While it’s the most challenging tour offered by Run the Alps, that doesn’t mean we aren’t having fun. During the last tour, a Bee Gees dance party broke out on the hot climb to Bec de Bossons – a good affirmation of goal number one – have fun. Read more about it in this Tour Story

The Via Valais has been growing in popularity, so we’ve added an additional guided tour for 2024, and running it self-guided is another option to fit your schedule and pace.

Photo: Nick Cusseneers

Chamonix based Custom Tour – France

Running in the Alps isn’t just about the big views and glaciers. There’s plenty of quiet single track around the Alps, and this photo from a private tour is a great reminder of all those beautiful forest miles and how nice it is to find a few hours that’s all your own.

Photo: Sam Hill

Mirnavator in the Alps – France, Italy, Switzerland

And in a single photo, Mirna Valerio sums up our feelings from this past season. So. Much. Stoke! Thanks, Mirna. 

If you don’t know Mirna, take a moment and enjoy this Run the Alps Rendez-Vous to meet her.

New Year

That’s all from us for 2023. 

Thanks for joining, running with us in the Alps, participating in our events, following along, and taking a look back at all the fun we had this past year. 

We’re excited to do it all again – and more – in 2024!

Kim Strom
Besides being the Content Producer for Run the Alps, Kim is a freelance writer and photographer who works with PatitucciPhoto. She co-created the online resources for trail running and mountain sports: ALPSinsight and Sierra Trail Runs.