But what is life actually like for those who live and work in the high alpine huts? What challenges do they face? What is their daily routine? And what are their hopes for the coming summer season?
I met Herbert Schneeberger, the landlord of the Greizerhütte in the Floiten Valley, who was more than happy to talk to me about his place of work.
Herbert, how long has the Greizerhütte existed and where does it get its name from?
The hut first opened in 1893 and gets its name from the section of the German Alpine Association (DAV) which built it – the Greiz section. Many huts in the Ziller Valley belong to the German Alpine Association for historical reasons.
How long have you been the landlord of the hut?
This will be the 28th summer! In the beginning we had to bring supplies to the hut by helicopter or horse. But, for the last 17 years we have had a goods cable car, which transports food to the hut. That saves us a lot of hard work.
What is your daily routine?
Well, first of all I have to say that I couldn’t manage everything without my wife. My wife, Irma, has been by my side and very involved with the business since the beginning. She is the heart and soul of the Greizerhütte. Her influence can be seen in everything. Our two daughters, Elisabeth and Kathrin, look forward to staying at the hut every summer and also work very hard helping out. Irmi does the early shift, she gets everything ready in the kitchen and prepares the food for the day ahead. In midsummer the day begins between 4am and 4.30am. I do the late shift, look after the guests in the evening and am the last to go to bed. My duties also include the maintenance and monitoring of our own power station, looking after the biological sewage system, caring for our horses at the hut and helping out the rest of the team when extra hands are needed. We employ two other people to help us around the hut, whether with the rooms, in the kitchen or with service. Flexibility is very important when working at a hut – everyone has to do everything!
What challenges do you typically face during a summer season?
There is nothing we can’t do – that’s my motto. In the Greizerhütte we have beds for 90 guests. However, sometimes, when the weather is really nice for a long time, we can accommodate up to 130 guests. We just put extra mattresses down in the dining room. The main thing is that people are warm and dry. The only real challenge we face is that some people, usually women, have different expectations of how the accommodation should be. They expect a double room with shower, private toilet etc. We are a protected high alpine hut, not a luxury hotel! I am not a magician, guests just have to make do with the mountain conditions.
What are your hopes for the coming summer season at the Greizerhütte?
I am truly happy when I have my family with me, when the guests are satisfied and when the summer passes without any accidents.
Dear Herbert, thanks for the taking the time to chat with me. I will definitely come and visit you at the Greizerhütte this summer!