Cover_Johann Trojer 1 2019

Snow Rugby Innsbruck is Back!

Snow Rugby has returned to Innsbruck! After a two-year break due to COVID-19, the time has finally come again: On January 28 2023, Snow Rugby Innsbruck 2023 will take place at the Patscherkofel mountain station. Unlike some other snow rugby events, this one is ON the mountain, at the top, rather than the base of the lift! That is 1.965 metres up to be exact!

An International Affair

Rugby Club Innsbruck has been organizing the highest altitude rugby tournament in Europe since 2015. What started as a small tournament has now grown into the largest rugby event in Austria. At this year’s edition, ten women’s and ten men’s teams are fighting for the coveted trophy. In addition to Austria, the teams this year come from Germany, Switzerland and Great Britain, and for the first time a Norwegian team is registered for the women! Aside from the sport, fun is the highest priority! There won’t just be an after-party, but an opening party as well, bookending the time on the mountain. The Plateau in the Bögen of Innsbruck serves as the party central, Friday and Saturday starting at 8pm! 

Breathtaking Mountain Landscape

Jakob Schöttl, Rugby Club Innsbruck player, told me: “The breathtaking landscape creates a unique atmosphere in which, as a player, you can enjoy the fresh mountain air and the beautiful view and then fight for every point with full commitment. In addition, snow rugby offers the opportunity to gain unique experiences and to exchange ideas with other players over a beer.”

Fast Paced, Action Packed

Snow rugby has become very popular in the last several years. A winter variation of the game of rugby, perfect for places that need to take a winter break due to weather. It is fast, intense and so much fun! The playing area is a bit smaller than a classic pitch, marked off with straps, to be visible in the snow. Played over ten minutes (five per half), with five players per team on the field at any given time, it is ‘simplified’. No kicking, no scrums, no line-outs, just fast play with most referee decisions resulting in a free-kick to restart the game.

Keep it Simple

The goal is to put the ball down in the opponent’s end zone. The defending team tries to prevent the ball carrier from advancing with tackles, bringing the ball carrier to the ground, where they must release the ball. With fewer breaks and a smaller playing field, snow rugby is a faster version of the original contact sport. Also due to the special situation of playing on snow, the athletes have to adapt their strategy and game management. Rugby on snow is therefore a special challenge even for experienced rugby players.

Back in Innsbruck Again

Jérémie Dejean de la Bâtie, President of Rugby Club Innsbruck, told me: “The idea of the Snow Rugby tournament in Innsbruck is older than we thought. A tournament was already organized and held in Seefeld in the early 2000s. After a brief hiatus, it experienced a renaissance in 2015. Despite the global pandemic our tournament is growing every year. The international tournament with ten women’s and ten men’s teams is an excellent advertisement for our sport, our club, the Patscherkofel and the city of Innsbruck.”

Don’t forget! On January 28 2023 make your way up the mountain and watch teams battle it out in fast paced, action packed games of snow rugby. Games will go from 9am until 3:30pm at Patscherkofel Bergstation, Römerstrasse 81, 6080 Igls.

Cover Photo: Johann Trojer

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