PAZNAUN PEOPLE: THOMAS HUBER, PIONEER OF TOURISM

He’s a hotelier and farmer, and pursues both careers with the same resounding success. Trisanna meets the Galtür legend that is Thomas Hüber.

 

Name
Thomas Huber

Age
80

Place of residence
Galtür

Job
Hotelier and farmer

Family
Married to Laura since 1959.
Children: Gerald, born in 1960; Hermann, born in 1961; Verena, born in 1962; Thomas born in 1964; Adele, born in 1968

How does someone born in Landeck come to Galtür and become the biggest hotelier and farmer in Paznaun?
I came to Galtür in 1957 as a professional electrician on the construction site for the Gasthaus Ballunspitze, where I met my wife, Laura. After several years together in Landeck, we opened the Jausenstation Wirlerhof hotel in December 1961. In 1968, we took on the Almhof together with its farming business. In 1972, we built the Fallbrunnalm in the ski area. Between 1975 and 1978, there followed an extensive upgrade to the Wirlerhof. In 1986 we redeveloped the Almhof, and in 1992 we took on the Gasthof Glöckner in Mathon. In 1994 we were able to buy the Tramserhof in Zams. In 2004 came the redevelopment of the Residenz Glöckner in Mathon. In 2008 we took over the Hotel Fluchthorn, redeveloping and extending it in 2012. In 2016 the Hofsennerei in Almhof was expanded. This means that we have taken on five farming businesses in and around Galtür between 1968 and 2014.

How many guest beds do Huber Hotels currently have available?
700

Are you a family business?
With the exception of Gerald, all the children work for the business – including seven grandchildren already.

How has cheese production developed after the expansion of the Hofsennerei?
We currently have 160 cows and process all the milk in our alpine dairy. Demand for Galtür mountain cheese has become bigger than the amount that we are able to produce.

Was it easier in the past to be competitive in tourism than it is today?
You can’t compare the different times. On the one hand, at the start of the sixties a lot of people were leaving the area. On the other hand, recruiting staff was not a problem. People just wanted to work and earn money. These days it is extremely difficult to find good staff. The lack of professional chefs is particularly critical. The personnel issue will be a great challenge in tourism in the coming years throughout the country.

What’s your favourite expression in the Paznaun dialect?
Nansali (afternoon nap)

Your favourite meal?
Wiener schnitzel with potato puree, cooked by my wife Laura

Your favourite place in Paznaun?
The Fallbrunnalm mountain pasture in the Galtür ski area

Describe the people of Galtür as a race:
Tough

If Galtür were an animal, what would it be?
A bull

With what drink do you toast to a successful season?
With a glass of good red wine

Galtür in one phrase?
The centre of my life

Your favourite language?
The Paznaun dialect

Where do you find a moment of peace?
In our living room

The most important accessory in the summer?
Sunglasses and a hat

Your favourite time of day?
6 o’clock in the morning

The most important changes in the last ten years?
The improvement in quality in our hotels, bringing them up to four star level.