PAZNAUN PEOPLE: SANDRO KLEINHANS, SKI INSTRUCTOR

Ski instructor and guide Sandro Kleinhans is 26 and comes from Ischgl. Moving away from here was never on the cards for him. Because he’s where he likes to be more than anywhere else – and that also means up in the mountains. A conversation about feeling good – on skis and in the town.

PhOTOS: NIKO HAVRANEK

 

Sandro, you’ve had offers from New Zealand, Australia and Japan, but you’ve turned them all down. Why?

Something always kept me in the valley. I’m a sociable guy, I like knowing the people around me well. I’m also active in many different clubs – in the football club as a player and trainer, for example, and as a volunteer fireman as well. I enjoy the sense of community in the valley and the fact there are also people who get involved without getting anything back. This is why there’s no real reason for me to go anywhere else.

Locals like you often speak of having the whole package here.
That’s totally true. In the winter skiing, in the summer biking. I just enjoy getting out there early in the morning and having a chat. It doesn’t matter where I go, there’s always someone to talk to. On top of that, it’s not as hot here as it is in the town, and as our saying puts it so nicely: the best part of Innsbruck is the view of the valley. (laughs)

You’ve worked as a carpenter for many years in the summer, but always as a ski guide and instructor in the winter. What does a perfect day skiing look like for you?
Nice clients, super powder snow and sunshine. I’ve been giving courses since I was about 15, but I still enjoy my work every day.

Why did you start your training?
I had a fairly dramatic experience on the mountain when I was about 14. My best mate and I were caught in an avalanche. I was partially buried up to my armpits, and we somehow just about got out of there. Then I thought: hang on a minute, perhaps you don’t really know what you’re doing that well, after all.

That was major.
But even with excellent training you still need to take care all the time. There is what I think is a very appropriate saying about it. It goes like this: be aware, because the avalanche doesn’t know that you are an expert. There is always an element of risk but the more you know, the better feeling you have in open country.