PAZNAUN PEOPLE: DANIEL TSCHODER, LORD OF THE AIR

Daniel Tschoder is 45 years old, grew up in Mathon and flies visitors and locals over the mountains of Paznaun with his paraglider. He tells Trisanna how you can become addicted to heights – and what makes his homeland so special. Especially up in the air.

phOTOS: MAX KROPITZ

 

Daniel, when you see a large parachute flying above Ischgl, there’s a very good chance that you’re hanging beneath it. But you haven’t always worked so high up in the sky, have you?
If you looked at my CV, you would think, there’s someone who doesn’t know what he wants. As a teenager, I trained as a machine fitter, then later at the age of 24 I did a carpentry apprenticeship and worked in the job for eight years. Later on, I also worked as a taxi driver and a snow groomer driver – and now I’m doing paragliding.

But you’ve been flying for much longer.
Sure, I begin doing it at the start of the 90s. At first alone, then later on I also started with tandem flying. And I’ve been a state-certified flying teacher for over ten years now.

A childhood dream?
Now, looking back, it probably was, yes. I can remember that when I was a little boy, I always went to look when the parachutes flew over Ischgl or Galtür.

How do you feel when you’re up there?
It feels free, nothing is tight, there is so much air up there. The higher you climb, the more beautiful it becomes. I’m convinced that once you’ve see something from a height of 3 500 metres, you always want to go back up. From above, everything is more beautiful – and in every season, too.

They say that this isn’t an easy region to fly in. Is that true?
Yes, it’s rough area to fly in. To be able to paraglide safely here you need to really know the place, you need to know the valley winds properly. What’s so special here is that you start high up, and you land high up, too.