PAZNAUN PEOPLE: SABRINA POPP, FREE SPIRIT

Sabrina Popp is 38, but when you ask her, she says she’s 40 – rounded up. Originally from Germany, she has spent the past 11 winter seasons in Ischgl; in summer, she travels around the world. She tells Trisanna why she lives her life the way she does – and why she’s so attached to Paznaun all the same.

phOTOS: NIKO HAVRANEK

 

Sabrina, you come from Gochsheim in Germany, yet nearly everyone here in Ischgl knows you. How did that happen?
I left Germany when I was quite young. I was working as a host in a holiday resort, and friends told me that a sports shop in Ischgl was looking for salespeople, and that it was great here. So my then boyfriend and I sold our things and left within two weeks.

But eleven seasons later you’re still here. Did you ever think that would happen?
No, definitely not when I left home. But the Alpenhof is already my seventh position in Iscghl now, I think. And I like it better than ever before. I have great friends, a great job and the best boss.

But you’re actually a trained hairdresser – and you’ve even cut hair here on the slopes, haven’t you?
(laughs) Yes, that was cool. We put up a chair in the fun park next to the kicker under the table, and I cut hair right there in the middle of the slopes. Whilst the snowboarders were jumping over our heads.

And the way you live your life, some people would definitely describe it as rather unconventional.
That’s probably true. I work in the winter and then in the summer I travel for several months. I always say: I’m doing now what other people plan to do when they retire. I just want to do it in the condition I’m in now, fit and healthy. I want to go surfing, hiking, exploring things. What I really enjoy in the summer is that I can be incredibly spontaneous. If someone tells me about a great place and asks me if I want to go there with them, I can just say, oh yes, I’m in. And nowadays I need both things, too, the balance between the mountains in the winter and the sea in the summer. I couldn’t do it any other way.

Where were you last summer?
In Panama. Oh, Panama is so beautiful! The wonderful thing about travelling is that you learn about yourself, too.

For example?
How you react in different situations. For me, I can enjoy the summer so much better, I can deal with things better. I’m not so good at that in my working life.

What makes Paznaun so special for you?
It really is the people. I have found friends for life here.