You come from the Ziller Valley. What makes Ginzling such an excellent mountaineering destination?
Andi: Ginzling, like the whole of the Ziller Valley, offers endless opportunities for alpine sports. In the Ziller Valley the combination of exciting via ferrata routes, challenging summit tours and gentle hiking for families, is a dream come true for fans of mountain sports. From first-timers to experienced mountaineers, everyone can find the right challenge for them.
What is so special about hiking in the Ziller Valley?
The unique and diverse nature. In the valleys visitors benefit from first-class tourist infrastructure, whilst in the mountains they can choose from amazing hiking trails of all difficulties between clear mountain lakes, lush meadows and craggy rock faces. Visitors in the spring are treated to a special spectacle of nature, as at this time that the alpine roses are in bloom.
In your opinion, what are the highlights of the Ziller Valley?
There are so many! The extraordinarily beautiful Schwarzenstein crossing and the Große Möseler with its incredible ice wall. There are countless peaks to climb, each with amazing views. I don’t actually have any personal favourites, I just love being in nature and enjoying the scenery.
Perhaps a special highlight is watching the sun rise over the peaks of the Turnerkamp, Großer Möseler, Schönbichler Horn and Schwarzsee.
What makes the glacier tour to the Schwarzenstein so special?
This tour includes all aspects of alpine sport. Hiking over rock and ice with crampons, as well as climbing. Hiking across rock wearing crampons is a new and interesting experience for most visitors. But above all, the tour is just an amazing adventure in beautiful surroundings.
What things do you need to consider when hiking across a glacier compared to other hikes?
Ice is a special type of terrain. Especially in spring the glacial crevasses are usually invisible and, therefore, special care must be taken.
As a mountain guide you have to be very versatile, but do you have any favourite sports?
In winter I love ski touring away from the hustle and bustle of the pistes. In summer I enjoy gentle climbing on ridges. When I am hiking across glaciers, I tend to get lost in my thoughts which can also be very relaxing.
How many tours do you do per season?
In a year, including summer and winter, I usually do around 200 to 250 tours. The size of the groups varies from one or two people on a private tour to thirty during a children’s climbing lesson. In such a lesson around five mountain guides teach children the basics of the sport. I guide people of any age, from children to pensioners. I took my oldest guest, a 72-year-old pensioner, up Mont Blanc!
That man must have been a Ziller Valley local if he was so fit at aged 72, right?
(Laughs) No, we Ziller Valley folk are still active in the mountains when we are 80!
As a mountain guide you must have seen quite some things. Is there any one experience which particularly stands out for you?
Of course, you find yourself in some precarious situations. During one tour, a guest from East Austria almost caused me to fall several times. I’ll never forget that. But I also remember many wonderful moments of joy and success, such as the 72-year-old who climbed Mont Blanc.
Why did you decide to become a mountain guide?
Because it’s my passion! I have been really lucky with the direction my life has taken. When I was three years old my father brought my brother and I to the mountains, and at age fourteen I joined the mountain rescue. Then, around 25 years ago, I trained to be a qualified mountain guide. It was my passion for the mountains that led me to my career. Now I am fortunate enough to have a job guiding visitors around our beautiful mountains.