PAZNAUN PEOPLE: DAVID RAGGL, MASTER DIGGER OPERATOR

David Raggl is 33 and grew up in Galtür. He studied to be an electrician, and during the summer he works with his company on building sites across the valley – and when it comes to operating a digger, he’s one of the best. And he proved as much last summer, too: David was crowned as European vice-champion digger operator.

David, we’re sitting at a nice little garden table in front of your house, which looks quite new. That’s not your parents‘ home though, is it?
Yes, I actually did grow up in this house. Three years ago my friends and I took it over, we converted it and now we rent out apartments.
I presume you did a lot of the work yourself.
Yes, of course, most of it I did myself – in just one summer. It was a huge amount of work. But I think it was worth it.
In winter you manage this building. And in the summer?
In the summer I have my own company, which I work with on building sites across the valley. Right now we’re working in Stengen, near the beginning of the valley. At this time of year there’s lots to do, there’s lots of building going on.

Since October last year, you’ve also become known for a rather special victory.
(laughs) That’s right, in October in Paris I became European vice-champion digger operator. I was extremely surprised by it – after all, the best operators from all around Europe were there. But I’m very happy.

How did it come about?
It was a total coincidence. I went to the biggest building trade fair in Austria with my team. That was in St. Pölten. And they were advertising a competition there, where you had to do stuff with a digger against the clock. They told me that the three fastest people at the trade fair would be invited to the European championships in Paris. I took part, and two months later found out I had won.
What was it like in Paris?
A fantastic experience. I didn’t get to see so much of the town, because the site where it took place was quite far out, but it was really cool to meet all the other digger operators from right across Europe. And the disciplines were interesting, too: we had to do skills tests with a 15 ton wheeled loader, a 25 ton digger, a backhoe loader and a bobcart. And there was only one trial run.
How were you welcomed back to the valley?
It was tremendous. My girlfriend organized a surprise party with nearly all my colleagues from here.