Coordinates N47.798873° E13.047720°
Once again, the race starts in Mozartplatz, beside the statue of the city’s most famous resident. Athletes run through the city's historic streets before crossing the Salzach river towards the Gaisberg.
It’s an 850m ascent and 4.7km run to the top of the Gaisberg, a 1,275m peak overlooking the city. The first athlete is King of the Gaisberg and typically arrives in about an hour. All athletes sign the signboard before taking to the skies.
There are actually two Turnpoints here. Athletes first have to tag a cylinder within a 3km radius of the Chiemsee before landing at a signboard in Marquartstein 10km to the south. This area belongs to the scenic Chiemgau and Achental regions, part of the German Alps.
Athletes now head towards Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze, 2,962m, which they have to pass to the north. The Turnpoint is situated on the Austrian side of the mountain, in Lermoos, part of the Tiroler Zugspitz Arena. The Turnpoint is a signboard situated next to a paragliding school, with incredible views of the mountain.
The route now goes into Switzerland. This leg is 117km and skirts to the north of the Alps. The peak of Säntis, 2,501m is the highest mountain of the Alpstein massif in north-east Switzerland and is situated to the south of lake Constance (Bodensee). The Turnpoint is a cylinder.
Fiesch is situated in the Aletsch Arena in Valais, and is home to Europe’s longest glacier, the breathtaking Aletsch, part of the UNESCO World Heritage site. To get here, athletes must cover 130km and cross the high mountains of the Bernese Alps. It’ll either be a spectacular flight – or a soul-crushing hike. Athletes must sign a signboard.
Dent D’Oche is a 2,221m peak in France’s Haute-Savoie on the southern side of lake Geneva. Athletes can follow the Rhone valley for much of the 108km but must then break north to pass the peak in an anticlockwise direction. Athletes have now passed the half-way mark.
The highest mountain in the western Alps makes another appearance as a Turnpoint in the race. However, in contrast to previous years, athletes do not just tag a cylinder but must pass the peak in an anticlockwise direction, forcing them to cross from France to Italy over one of the highest barriers in the Alps. Expect some difficulties if it’s not flyable.
From Mt Blanc the route opens up. The next Turnpoint is 245km away to the east, giving athletes different options – they can cross back north or take the shorter but possibly riskier direct line through Italy. Expect the field to diverge here. Piz Palü is situated to the south of St Moritz, on the Swiss-Italian border.
For the second time Kronplatz hosts a Turnpoint. It’s home to the famous Messner Mountain Museum and enjoys one of the most spectacular views of the Dolomites on one side and the main chain of the Alps to the north. It’s a great venue for spectators. Athletes have to land and sign a signboard, adding to the exciting atmosphere.