Philipp von Arx

Joulukuun kuukauden kasvona avausosuuksien erikoismies Sveitsin Oltenista Philipp von Arx.

Who are you, where do you come from and what do you do for living?

I’m Philipp, grew up in Olten (Switzerland) and, after some stops in Zürich, Trondheim and Graz I’m now back there. I work in an engineering company where we plan and supervise the construction of all kind of river related projects, mainly dealing with flood protection but also trying to make the rivers and their surrounding more attractive for the ecology and the people.


Can you tell us little bit about your family?

I’ve got three younger siblings – people usually have problems to name us correctly, but of course we’ve got more in common than looking similar, like for example: one of them is also doing orienteering, one started to brew beer at home like me and one really likes to cook as well.


When did you start orienteering and how?

That was back in 2006 at some summer holiday orienteering program of the communal schools. The group was great, that was what kept me there.


What’s the best thing in orienteering?

Hard to name one, so I got for “Spend time with friends while exploring new terrains in places all around the world”.


What was your first terrain?

Hardwald in Olten. Nothing you need to visit, imagine a chess board styled forest with paths, but all the squares are green instead black-white.


From the terrains you’ve visited, any particular one that stands out?

Reeeally tricky. Should I pick it because of it’s great runnability, the nice views, the good memories? Orienteering in “Castle Hill” (New Zealand) has been really special for sure or then “Shatorov Kamen” in Northern Macedonia on a trip with Kimmo.


How did you get to know LS-37?

I met Tytti at some ski-orienteering training weekend near Chur in 2012 and we spoke about Jukola and how I’d like to be running there once in my life, weeks later I met a group of LS-37 the first time at 10MILA in Sweden.


What are your goals for the coming season?

Tickle the Swiss elite runners like every season but of course aiming for good results with LS-37 in many relays, especially Jukola. And staying healthy, that’s the base for good results.


What other sports have you done or do?

For countless years on the cross-country skis, I have also tried one or another sport. These include country field hockey, handball or even curling. In the latter, our team separated shortly before the start of the league, otherwise these lines would probably not exist. In addition, there were some nice years of ski-orienteering and I like all kinds of endurance sports.


What clubs have you represented?

OL Regio Olten (Switzerland), LS-37, NTNUI (Norway), OLC Graz (Austria)


Have you had any coaches?

Well, in the ski-orienteering junior national team of course. But otherwise I wasn’t really looking for one…


Your most fun sports memory?

There were many, isn’t it why we should do sports? But, as sad the situation is there right now, a really memorable moment happened in eastern Ukraine at the ski-orienteering JWOC in 2012: we definitely were tired from the competitions and started doing model walks in the corridor wearing girls clothes. There was a wedding in the same hotel floor and the (quite drunk) groom spotted us doing that. He couldn’t really stop laughing for quite a while and wanted to show us to the whole audience. Quite embarrassing of course, but he treated us well with food and drinks from the buffet afterwards. And quite hard to believe what’s happening right there now, when thinking back to such funny moments.


Favorite training?

Running (flying?) over some Finnish bare rock areas.


Your best achievements through the years?

Solid start legs in the (big) relays, of course. But I also like to point out that I’ve got an individual Swiss champs medal in orienteering, bike-orienteering and ski-orienteering.


Have you been injured at some point?

Twice I’ve had some months of running break due to my ankle and at Swiss-O-Week 2014 in Zermatt I broke my arm at the first forest stage.


Have you had a break in orienteering? If so, why?

Actually not, I got involved more and more in all kind of orienteering related activities.



Thumb or plate compass?

Thumb, never really learned it differently.


Middle or long distance?

Long is some kind of love-hate relationship, I go for middle


How do you spend your free time?

If not hanging out with friends or family, then it’s mostly some orienteering related thing: coaching the regional squad, teaching future coaches, organizing trainings and competitions, writing some articles for the orienteering magazine, helping producing TV at WC/WOC/EOC. But I also started brewing beer during Covid times or just like being and running/skiing in the mountains.


Have you had any part in any association?

I’m teaching courses for future coaches in the federation’s education program and I’m the head coach of the regional orienteering squad Bern/Solothurn.


Describe yourself in three words:

Versatile, organized, impatient


If you were an animal, what animal would you be?

An eagle – circling far above the mountain peaks must have something wonderful.


Best subjects in school?

Geography – also because the then teacher always brought us many pictures including some exciting stories.


What new skill(s) would you like to learn?

I’m quite lucky with all the things I was able to learn and do so far. Probably paragliding, even though some people think it’s a risk sport.


Where do you get inspiration?

Friends, family and basically in everyday life, just be careful to open your eyes!


What would your own TV channel broadcast?

Live sports, some comedian(s) talking about the recent events and happenings, documentations of interesting people and regions – and no ads.


What is the trait you are not particularly proud of?

That I very, very much don’t like to lose in board games. In the past, cards used to fly, but today I try to control myself a little better.


In my opinion (continue) …

… people sometimes don’t’ notice how lucky they are compared to others.


You did not know this about me yet:

I always wanted to be the first person to discover the famous creature “Nessie” in Loch Ness (Scotland). Well, I assume this is still possible…


What has been the highlight of this week?

Hot drinks and good food after reaching the top of the hill intervals.


Have you ever been in detention (and why)?

I once should have sat an afternoon at the police station at high school for cycling over a red light. My friends had to go there, but somehow my name got lost.


What has been your most recent cultural experience/activity?

Actually not been to any concert/museum for quite a time, probably should think about that…


What kind of person do you try to be?

I try to be open-minded, appreciate the others and their doing, and being supportive but also challenge others from time to time to learn new things and get beyond their limits and expectations.


What is your most unhealthy enjoyment?

Haha, easy one. Karkkia!


Have you sung the karaoke (and which song)?

In earlier years we’ve sung some with friends at home. I had two songs I was nearly unbeatable: “Hollywood Hills” from Sunrise Avenue and “Perfekte Welle” from Juli.


For what reason did you get praised for the last time?

For having everything “under control” even though doing so many things at the same time.

For what reason did you lose your temper the last time?

That happens very seldom. Back then when I broke my arm at Swiss-O-Week one guy didn’t want to take care of me despite my arm in the cable car. He pushed me again and again. Seconds later his cap went flying through the cabin…


The dream you are planning to execute?

Stay healthy and happy throughout life.


Complete the sentence: Even though I’ve always wanted to, I have never …

…visited Iceland.


What is the best way to spend summer day in Olten?
Going for a run, jump into the river, float there for some minutes, grab an ice cream and enjoy the nice summer evening


What do you not like about living in Olten?

That people always complain about the fog here.


Question from Eveliina Hasu (previous face of the month)

What is the best orienteering terrain in Lahti?

Definitely one of the maps with bare rock areas. And Tiirismaa, because it was the first training I did in Lahti and not a bad map either.


What’s the word comes into mind from these words:

Cold – Winter is coming

Silence – relaxing

Spring – orienteering, orienteering, orienteering!

Storm – once got lost in a snow storm in Kittilä

Snow – cross country skiing season coming up

Love – is wonderful

Hot – sauna

Time – sometimes the days have too few of it

Bear – wonderful animals but happy I’ve never met one face to face

Equality – an important topic, many countries are far behind

Football – in Qatar, really?!

Poem – not my kind of literature