The piste patrollers are guardian angels for everyone on the mountains. In winter, they assist in emergencies and make sure the pistes are safe, carry out inspections and controlled explosions and keep people informed. But have you ever wondered what they do in the summer? Then you have come to the right place. Two of our piste patrollers tell us about their work during the summer months, and much more.
Marion Stillhart, who lives in Siat, and Flims native Renato Nold are both members of the Weisse Arena Bergbahnen AG piste and rescue team, which has around 20 members. They have been working on the pistes for several years and really love their job – despite the many physical and mental challenges it involves. Both of them have exactly what it takes to be able to do this difficult job: they are passionate about the natural world, like to keep active and enjoy spending as much time as possible outside in the fresh air.
What they particularly love about their job is the variety, the opportunity to meet and help all kinds of people and the chance to learn something new each and every day. But they especially enjoy the wonderful moments that no other job can offer: the time they spend out alone on the mountain in the morning and in the evening. Just them, the sunrise, the fading moon, a sea of mist hanging over the mountains, the silence and the breathtaking views.
Marion is one of two women on the piste and rescue team, but she is really just one of the guys. “I do exactly the same work as the men, and that’s great”, she explains. Marion works for Weisse Arena Bergbahnen AG on the pistes in summer and winter, and, like Renato, is a member of the maintenance team.
Together with their colleague, they put up fences in the mountains. These fences are primarily put in place to allow the grass to grow without being trampled by the cows after the pipes for the snow cannons have been installed. The cable car stations are also fenced off for safety reasons.
The job involves a lot of walking up and down the mountains, so it is no surprise that Marion is extremely fit. Stamina is also essential: as soon as the last fencepost has been put in place and the last fence secured, the first fences need to be removed again as the cows head down into the valley.
In autumn, they are usually busy adding padding to pylons and other potential hazards at the edges of the pistes. Despite the tiring work, Marion loves the advantages of working on the pistes in summer: “In summer, you can see what you’re doing in the evening! Besides, you get to see much more of the beautiful natural surroundings and can bond with colleagues more.” She also enjoys the regular working hours, which enable her to maintain a perfect work-life balance. This is something that Renato values too. After a well-earned month-long break in the spring – somewhere in a far-off land – the 26-year-old returns to the mountains to join the maintenance team and makes sure that everything is as it should be on the pistes.
He repairs and replaces the wooden fences that hold back the snow at the edge of the pistes in winter and helps to ensure that the hiking trails and roads are accessible and safe for hikers and bikers. This involves removing stones, building small bridges, setting up benches, installing safety chains and much, much more. Everything above the treeline is the responsibility of Weisse Arena Bergbahnen AG, whereas everything below the treeline is the responsibility of the municipality. Members of the maintenance team also require further talents, for example when they need to paint the marking rods.