PAZNAUN PEOPLE: SERAFIN SIEGELE, SLOPES MANAGER

This man knows the Silvretta Arena like no other – because he’s the one responsible for making sure every slope is as perfectly groomed as possible. In our Trisanna portrait: slopes manager Serafin Siegele.


Name

Serafin Siegele

Age
54, born in Zams

Place of residence
Ischgl

Job
Slopes manager for the Silvretta Seilbahn AG cableway company.

Career
Started work at the Silvretta Seilbahn AG in 1979 as a lift attendant for two years, followed by two years with the slopes rescue service. Then seven years with the Pardatschgratbahn cable car. Slopes manager since 1991.

What is your scope of duties and responsibilities as slopes manager?
Artificial snow-making, slopes rescue service, Avalanche Commission, snow groomer drivers and workshop.

How should we as outsiders imagine a typical day as slopes manager on Idalp?
The day starts at 4.30 a.m. or 7.15 a.m., depending on the weather forecast and weather situation. First off, we find out the current weather situation in the ski area. We contact the snow groomer drivers and demolition experts as necessary, who are then directed into the ski area. If a lot of new snow is forecast, enough people then stay overnight in the ski area.

How many slopes or kilometres of slopes do you look after?
On the Ischgl side there are around 170km of slopes with 32 systems to look after, which are prepared every day by 21 snow groomers. As of this year’s season, we also take care of the fun park run by the Scheestern company, with another machine. There are also another five slope machines on the go for restaurant deliveries, snow-making, and repair work.

How much have the requirements and expectations of slope grooming changed since you began to work as slopes manager in 1991?
At the start of the nineties, snow was only made in isolated trouble spots. Today, some 80 percent of the slopes are covered with artificial snow made by around one thousand snow-making machines. The guests today simply expect perfectly groomed slopes throughout the entire ski area.

What motivates you in this role?
For example, the fact that our ski area has been regularly awarded the Slopes Seal of Quality for several years now. That’s a great motivation each season, but also a challenge for our whole team, which currently consists of 64 people.

What’s your favourite expression in the Paznaun dialect?
Gawinda (snow cornice) 

Your favourite meal?
Steak from our own Highland cattle, cooked by Martin Sieberer

Your favourite place in Paznaun?
Piz Valgronda (in the Ischgl ski area) 

Describe the people of Ischgl as a race:
Determined

If Ischgl were an animal, what would it be?
A snow hare 

With what drink do you toast to a successful season?
With a glass of Austrian white wine

What’s your favourite colour in winter?
White (I don’t think I have a choice)

The Silvretta Arena in one word?
My life

Your favourite language during the season?
The Paznaun dialect

Where do you find a moment of peace?
Unteres Alpli (above Langesthei)

What’s your favourite song with a Paznaun connection?
“Die kleine Kneipe” by Udo Jürgens (from the season finale on Idalpe in 2003)

The most important winter accessory?
Heated ski boots

Your favourite time of day?
Eating breakfast in peace in the mornings

The most important changes in the last ten years?
After two serious operations, I have resolved to enjoy life more consciously. Based pretty much on the saying: you only live once.