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Matthias Auer

„It's wonderful to be at home here“

Carpenter and mountain guide Matthias Auer fine-tunes on a contemporary sense of home.

Matthias Auer (38) is a professional carpenter, ski instructor and mountain guide. He comes from Umhausen where he lives together with his family, only a hundred meters from his parents' house. His brother Hansjörg Auer was one of the most distinguished rock climbers world-wide. Unfortunately he lost his life in an avalanche accident in 2019. Matthias can find peace and quiet in the mountains – and a special feeling of home.


„I love to work with wood. The element of wood is familiar to me, it belongs to our nature. I enjoy building a roof structure or helping friends set up their new house. We ourselves bought an old house in Umhausen five years ago, only a hundred meters from my parents' house. My wife and I made this our new home. And by now there are five of us. Ida, our third child, was just born ten months after my brother Hansjörg died in an avalanche accident.

I miss the brother. And very often I wish he could just come around the corner and hold little Ida in his arms. But I made my peace with the difficult situation. Hansjörg lived exactly as he wanted to and enjoyed life. Just as I live the way I want – and I can enjoy life, too.

The Ötztal is my home. I grew up here, I feel at ease here. For me the valley stands for mountains, villages and people. We are a fairly deep valley, so maybe we are even more attracted by the summits – to be able to look beyond the horizon.

Even when we were kids, we went up the mountains with our parents. Later I was out and about a lot with my brother until it was clear that he was a much better climber than I was.

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That's how I learned to be honest with myself. I have found my way. I go skiing with guests in winter and I enjoy splendid tours as a mountain guide in summer. Tourism opens up many opportunities and I get to know interesting people. Like many others, of course, I ask myself whether tourism could be a bit smoother and gentler. I myself experience the contradictions that are behind this wishful hope. Many guests are in search of true loneliness and authenticity on our tours. But as soon as we reach a really remote mountain hut, they want to take a shower immediately.

I particularly like the area surrounding Umhausen. It is much quieter and more comfortable here than at the rear end of the valley. In winter I went to Hohe Wasserfalle summit, from there you can see exactly the favorite places of my childhood. As children we tended sheep on the Alpine pastures, every meadow is full of childhood memories. The view from up there provides a sense of home to me, without any filters. Now I'm already telling the stories from back then to my own children. They should be able to understand and follow my own feeling of home. It's fabulous to be at home in one place. That's not to be taken for granted. We have to cultivate and continue this feeling, otherwise it will be lost forever.“

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