About Slow Alps

No time to organize your mountain holiday in the European Alps?

As your vacation planner and tour guide, I will help you to relax in the world of mountains so that you can return back home full of energy.

You are tired of going through all the ready-made travel and tour offers on the Internet not sure what might be the right choice for you?

You don’t know exactly where to go in the Alps to find what you want to experience most during your holidays?

You are unsure whether you can keep up with the other participants in the hiking group. And you would rather go at your own pace?

This is what you can look forward to with me:

  • You are traveling in your own private group: you decide who comes along – you alone, your partner, your family or a group of friends or colleagues?
  • You don’t need to worry about anything. I plan and book everything for you and accompany you as your guide on your custom-made tours.
  • I tailor your vacation days precisely to your needs – from working out on the mountain to relaxing wellness landscapes and cultural highlights in the valley.
  • You can escape bad weather up to 4 days before arrival. In this case, I will plan an equivalent tour program for you in another – then sunnier – Alpine region.
  • As your host, I will accompany you to the extent that you determine.
  • There is no minimum number of participants and no predefined travel date.

Lutz Gärtner
Slow Alps Founder & Owner

My qualifications and experience

  • At my age of 55, I can draw on more than 40 years of worldwide mountaineering experience.
  • Multiple mountain & tour guide qualifications:
    • UIMLA International Mountain Leader – worldwide mountain guiding certification
    • Trainer C license, Mountain Trekking, German Alpine Club (DAV)
    • State-authorized Mountain Hiking Leader, Mountain & Ski Guide Law of Austrian state of Carinthia
    • Certified Mountainbike Guide (Organic biking & E-biking)

Hotel Industry

As a trained hotel manager (Swiss Mövenpick Group) and working in 5-star hotels abroad, I learned the service business from scratch.

Global Industrial & Corporate experience

International business studies in London and Reutlingen (BAEBA/ESB)

27 years in various management positions in the electrical industry, with several years abroad in the USA and Middle East, professional travel to over 40 countries

Lifelong competition swimmer

on German and European Championships level

Customer testimonials

Laura B.

Founder & Owner of Moving People Business Coaching, Munich

I have already experienced many tour guides – with Lutz, I particularly liked the fact that he always realizes varied tours with exciting highlights, but never too extreme or demanding. Each time it was clear to see that he had given a lot of thought to the optimal route. Then everything was right: sunshine, a pleasant mix of challenge and relaxation and the culinary hut experiences. Even weeks later, the grandiose panorama and the intense nature experiences have had a stimulating effect on me. I’m already looking forward to the next tour!

Markus H.

Sustainability Manager Special Lubricants Manufacturer, Munich

“I can only enjoy the mountains to the full if I feel safe at all times during the tour. That was always the case under Lutz’s leadership, and we had a lot of fun on all tour days. Lutz also impressed me with his experience in organizing trips in the mountains on a sustainable basis, and he naturally also made appropriate offers, e.g. for arrival/departure, stage movements, choice of accommodation …

The experience was super and very relaxed! Gladly again!”

With minimal time investment to maximum vacation enjoyment!

The first step is our introductory meeting – by phone or, if you prefer, as a video call.

free-of-charge | no obligations

On the way to my own personal summit …

Lutz Gärtner (Child)

„You’ll never be one of us!”

Mountain guide office Solda on Ortles, South Tyrol. The door slams shut behind us. We’re back outside. That was it. My father tries to comfort me over the devastating statement of the head mountain guide: “You will never be one of us. If you are not from here and live locally, you’ll never meet the requirements.” There I was 16 years old, had spent 3 terrific mountain summers with my father and had discovered the dream job for me: mountain guide! I was so disappointed. After driving home 450 km to Erlangen, I locked myself in my room for days – and in the end I listened to my father.

I followed reason

With even more rationality, I had also ended my happy first professional years in the hotel industry because of meager earnings prospects. Although I then studied economics and made an international career in the electrical industry, I never really lived for it.

What really fulfills me

It wasn’t until my 50th birthday that I suddenly had it crystal clear in my mind: Half-time! My lifetime is limited and I’m still not doing what fulfills me. My then 19-year-old daughter sensed that, too. At Christmas that same year she gave me the symbolic mountain guide utensils: compass, carabiner and hip flask. That really hit home!

But how should I turn my lifelong passion for the mountains into a profession now at this age? The warnings from my friends were not long in coming. But the spark was there. And for the first time in my life, I dared to just follow my gut feeling and I quit my permanent job in the industry.

Suddenly the right doors opened everywhere

My local Alpine Club section welcomed me with open arms and made it possible for me to take the Trainer C course in mountain trekking. For the state-authorized mountain hiking guide certification, I had to pass a 2-day entrance examination against 20 to 35-year-old competitors, where only half of the admitted applicants are accepted each year. I was accepted on the first try! And even before my website was even finished, I had my first assignment from my international business network – a team building hike with the European Leadership Team from Arla Foods, Denmark, in the Bavarian Alps.

But one of you!

Since then, I’ve been driven to share the fascination of nature and the world üof mountains with other people. Helping them to be inspired and revived by nature. Nothing makes me happier than look into the sparkling eyes of my guests when we have arrived safely back in the valley together after an extensive mountain tour. And then, in silence, I think back to the Solda head mountain guide and can say: Hey, I’ve become one of you after all!

For a visual impression of your Slow Alps host, check out this historical gallery with images from several decades out in the mountains:

And who is on the way to their personal summit with Slow Alps?

The Slow Alps Target Group

Individually planned outdoor vacations I offer – inevitably – only in closed groups: for you as an individual, together with your partner, or also with your friends, family or circle of colleagues. My offer is aimed at demanding guests who value an exclusive and courteous service.

Slow Alps customers love nature and the mountains, enjoy exercise, are thoughtful and generally weatherproof. They would like to gain more experience in recognizing alpine dangers, correctly assessing mountain weather, with safe orientation, map reading, assessing GPX tracks or applying the right walking techniques in the mountains. They like the appreciative and respectful interaction and exchange with each other as well as with their guide and host.

Who becomes a Slow Alps fan?

  • A group of former school friends, since then living scattered in various countries, want to celebrate their 15th, 20th or 30th high school graduation anniversary and spend a week together in the mountains.
  • An executive with a heavy work and family load is looking for a personal time-out in the mountains, set up as time-efficiently as possible, certainly with a demand for physical challenges. But with an unscathed return home to avoid any absence from the workplace.
  • A couple with only one mountain-affine partner would nevertheless like to vacation together and finds it difficult to bring the different interests into a program.
  • A manager traveling on business would like to extend her professional stay in Munich, Salzburg, Zurich, Milan or any other place in the Alpine region over the weekend and get to know the mountain world of the Alps, possibly with specific area or summit wishes.
  • The famous Empty Nester parents invite their adult children who have been living away from home for years to a family reunion in the mountains for several days. There must be something in for everyone to sit together in harmony at dinner in the evening in the hotel.
  • Finally the company has approved the 6-month sabbatical and the long-cherished dream of a multi-week alpine crossing can be realized. Now a safe and inspiring companion is sought at eye level.
  • A company plans an offsite strategy workshop with its new management team in the Alpine region. A mountain tour on the day before should serve as a team building event for the new management team.

The unique adventure

Slow Alps customers are looking for that special experience. Whether it’s an extraordinary mountain tour, an individual hiking or cycling route, personal encounters with locals or culinary delights typical of the region.

The tailor-made contrast between luxurious relaxation and physical challenge on tour is particularly interesting. The feeling of happiness of a hard-won summit success and the deep satisfaction after returning to the valley in one piece gives inspiration, new self-confidence and energy for new tasks.

I succeed in building up this tension in your outdoor vacation with the Slow Alps concept Relax | Discover | Develop.

The Slow Alps Experience

Travel is the only way to spend money and return richer. I’m sure you’ve heard this clever phrase before. It could have come from Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a professor of psychology at Cornell University who even proved it scientifically in a study that lasted 20 years: The pleasure we get from material possessions wears off faster than the satisfaction we feel when we have invested in special experiences, particuarly those close to nature.

Slow Alps stands for deceleration, for (re) connecting with nature, for time-out, enjoyment, awareness and aesthetics. The tour programs inspire self-reflection and allow you to rediscover and feel your own body.

Your goal for a mountain vacation with Slow Alps should not be “faster, higher, further”, but the desire for an intensive experience of nature and culture in the European Alps. Experiences that let you completely switch off from your daily work routine. “Soft Fascination” is what Rachel and Steven Kaplan call this in their Attention Restoration Theory, according to which brain areas responsible for concentration even regenerate during a gentle hike. Blood pressure and cortisol levels drop, our mood brightens, healing processes are accelerated and the immune system is strengthened. Swedish professor Terry Hartig, a pioneer in environmental psychology, sums up the growing number of studies on the effect of nature on humans as follows: Proximity to nature is regularly linked to greater life satisfaction.

The magic of walking

Walking means moving forward, one foot in front of the other, one step at a time.

Walking is also rhythm, it opens up a kind of meditative space that lets the unsteady mind come to rest, lets thoughts come and go, clears the mind and lets creativity arise. Because the experience of the slowness of walking corresponds to the human measure. And this slowness is a healing counterforce to the hustle and bustle of our time. On a Slow Alps tour, the soul recovers what has been lost in the noise and the hectic pace.

Walking together also connects, gives a sense of belonging and thus enables a natural openness for an inspiring exchange of ideas and an enriching dialogue.

Only where you have been on foot have you really been – I would add cycling and mountain biking in the Alps to this quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Whether on foot or in the saddle, we are in direct contact with nature, which behaves much like music. It runs along in the background, lifts the mood, dispels annoying thoughts. We can be guided by her rhythm – and at the same time be completely with ourselves.

Digital Detox

The term “Digital Detox” also has its place in Slow Alps. The hardest part is the first 24 to 48 hours. After that, priorities shift and a voluntary digital detox begins. Incoming emails become as unimportant as news on Facebook or Instagram. Body and soul relax, and you have the exhilarating experience of living in the here and now.

This is exactly what the Slow Alps concept Relax | Discover | Develop is geared towards.

Sustainably out and about

The tourist destroys what he is looking for by finding it. He commonly wants to travel to areas that logically hardly exist: far from hectic civilization, but still easily accessible and equipped with comfortable accommodations.

Slow Alps aims to take you to alpine regions that industrial outdoor tourism has not yet discovered. Areas where man and nature are still in harmony.

Therefore, our being on the move is inextricably linked with nature conservation. Because without protection and a mindful approach to the landscape in which we so enjoy moving, the beauty, diversity and uniqueness of our Alps will quickly become a thing of the past.

We obey resting zones for wildlife, do not damage sensitive vegetation on wind edges or in the high altitude subnival area, where plants such as the creeping mountain azalea or the eight-petalled mountain avens grow only 0.1 millimeters per year.

While hiking on boulders and scree slopes that build up beneath rock faces through millennia of erosion, we pay attention to pioneering plants such as the creeping avens, which has adapted to the constantly moving subsoil with over 1-meter-long root stolons.

So we will be traveling together in the spirit of Christian Morgenstern – “I did not pick a few flowers today to give you their life”.

If this way of being out in nature and the mountains appeals to you, then I look forward to getting to know you to help you gaining maximum vacation enjoyment with minimal time invest for you in preparing it.

free-of-charge | no obligations

The Slow Alps Concept “RELAX | DISCOVER | DEVELOP”

That is the triad of which unforgettable outdoor vacations are made.
A triad that looks different for each person to experience the personally perfect time-out in the mountains and take it home.

1. RELAX

  • Arrive: Slow down from your hectic everyday life, for example in a bio sauna with an outdoor pool.
  • Eat well: Enjoy the specialties of the local cuisine with high-quality ingredients from own production.
  • Rest your mind: Relax lightheartedly on easy hikes – I always make sure you return to your hotel in good time.

By the way, there’s nothing wrong with your entire vacation days being in relaxation mode – you decide!

2. DISCOVER

To discover, we arange the days a little more active:

  • Get moving: Discover rewarding peaks and breathtaking mountain panoramas with all your senses.
  • Trekking: Cross an entire mountain range – and arrive at a new place every day.
  • Cultural highlights: Encounter the local tradition and history in contact with the local people.

3. DEVELOP

Take advantage of the mountain environment to fully expose yourself to the elements of nature and to grow personally from it:

  • Get out of your comfort zone: Defeat your weaker self.
  • Overcoming mental limits: whether fear of heights or supposed physical exhaustion.
  • Find answers: You get to know yourself anew in the face of unfamiliar physical challenges in close and direct contact with nature. This opens up different perspectives, gives you new insights. And you may even come to decisions that you have been putting off for a long time.

I will put together your personal RELAX | DISCOVER | DEVELOP program. Just for yourself, for your group as a whole, or even for individual participants to whom you may want to offer different activities.

Our introductory call is the basis for this, too:

free-of-charge | no obligations