PAZNAUN PEOPLE: DOMINIK PIRCHER, SKI SCHOOL DIRECTOR

Dominik Pircher is 37 and has run the ski school in See for the past year and a half. When summer comes to Austria, he flies away to follow the winter. A conversation about being away – and coming back.

phOTOS: NIKO HAVRANEK

 

Domink, the ski school office is right next to the valley station for the gondola. And that takes you up a mountain that’s very special for you, right?
That’s right, I grew up right next to the ski slope. Just behind it, on the Ahle, is where I learnt to ski at the age of three. And right from the start, I just couldn’t get enough of it. I came out of the primary school, for example, and just went quickly home to eat and then straight up on the slopes. I didn’t bother about homework at first.

So you could say you‘ve come back to your roots.
Yes, now at the age of 37, I’m back again. There were a couple of twists and turns on the way.

Tell us more.
I studied mechanical engineering at the polytechnic, which totally fascinated me. And then I had the chance to start working at a surveying technology company in Bregenz. I only decided then to become a full-time ski instructor at the age of 23 or 24. I had already had a bit of experience and taken the exam, my uncle and my godfather had encouraged me to do it after my compulsory community service. And that’s how I came to spend the past 12 years working as a ski instructor and ski guide – not here, though, but in Zürs in Vorarlberg.

Because you wanted to see something else?
You could put it like that. I really love being here, but I need to go away from time to time, too. For a long time I also had a pattern, when the season here was over, I would fly after the winter, as it were, and work as a ski instructor in Australia and New Zealand. I was a trainer for the International Ski Federation team from New South Wales there, for example.

What do you like about being away?
I am very interested in other cultures. I’ve always wanted to see other places – even though it’s so beautiful here, it can also quickly feel too small, sometimes. That’s why I was away for five summers, too, on a cruise ship, offering bicycle tours in the places we stopped at. There were definitely some years when I was away more than I was back here.

But all the same, you’re back now – and probably more settled than ever before.
(laughs) Yes, I took over the ski school in See around one and half years ago, as I said. It was a bit like coming back to the roots. It’s an honour to be able to take it over from my uncle. He worked here for 30 years – and I’m going to try to do it as well as he did.