Alois Eiter, know just as “Loisel” above 2000 metres, is 54 and has been the landlord of the Heiderberger Hut for five years. Born in Pitztal, he explains to Trisanna why people are more alike up on the mountain, and which jobs just can’t be learnt. Spoiler: a landlord is one of them.

Alois, the fact that you’ve ended up in a hut again isn’t so surprising, is it?
No, not at all. I even spent my childhood in a hut. I come from Pitztal, and my parents ran the Riffelsee hut, which is where I grew up.

But the Heidelberg Hut was a bit of a coincidence.
That’s true, it was. About six years ago, my wife and I saw an advert in the newspaper, where it said that the Heidelberger Hut was available to lease. I said to her then, oh, we don’t need to even try, we won’t get it anyway. But she thought, if you don’t give it a go, you’ll never know.  

And now you’ve ended up here.
And we’re really happy. We’ve been doing this for five years now. I was already familiar with the hut from my ski instructor training days, I really liked it back then. I just enjoy being here – since we took on the lease, I have only spent two nights away from here. I’m always up here otherwise, summer and winter.   

What makes working in quite a remote place like this better than being down in the valley?
People up there are different when they arrive. The ones who come up here have accomplished something themselves, managed to do something. They’ve made it up here. So they’re more relaxed, a lot more normal. It doesn’t matter what they are in real life, they’re all a bit more alike up here. It’s great those of us who work up here, too, we’re also more relaxed. There’s no rush, no stress, we leave all that behind down in the valley.

The Heidelberger Hut is an enormous hut with room for 140 people to sleep. Is it a bit too crowded for you sometimes when there’s a lot going on?
We have 70 beds and 70 camping places. When it’s all full, it really is too full. I prefer it when we have about one hundred people here. Then everyone has somewhere to sit, you don’t have to mediate between people. But there’s still a lot going on, and it’s great fun.

We can’t really sit here calmly, because you’re constantly being warmly greeted by your guests. What makes a really good host?
Obviously you have to like being with people, communication is at the root of it all. And it has to come naturally to you, if you have to force a conversation then it’s false. I think though that you have to be born to this job and totally into what you do. I couldn’t be a yoga teacher, for example. Hut landlords and hunters –I think these are the two careers which you just can’t learn.