Toni Ehrensperger from Kitzbühel first got into cross-country skiing when he was about 20 years old thanks to a friend. At that time, however, the trained carpenter was not yet aware of how much this sport would shape the rest of his life.
Toni smiles mischievously into the camera and tells us that he is approaching 60 and still has a lot of fun cross-country skiing.
Maybe because I only started cross-country skiing when I was 20.
Since 2004 Toni has been employed full time by the Kitzbühel Ski Club as a cross-country and biathlon coach. In addition to training with the cross-country and biathlon youth, Toni is responsible for countless jobs along the race course and also for the start house of the Kitzbühel Ski Club in summer and winter at the Hahnenkamm.
The cross-country skiing centre of the Kitzbühel Ski Club is also located in the cross-country skiing centre at the sports track on the Kitzbühel-Schwarzsee-Reith golf course.
All sports cross-country trails with different lengths of 600 m, 1.2 km, 2 km and 2.5 km are technically snow-covered and illuminated from dusk daily until 9:00 pm. Technical snowmaking is one of Toni Ehrensperger's main tasks during the winter season, in addition to training at the cross-country centre and working around the Hahnenkamm race.
With 14,000 to 15,000 m³ of snow, the base is so good that even 2 to 3 days of rain cannot harm the trail.
The snow system is controlled on site via PC and from home via app. Toni receives error messages from the snowmaking system on his mobile phone. However, as is the case almost everywhere, these usually happen at night, when no one is on site. Toni is relaxed about it, he enjoys the peace and quiet that reigns along the sports track in the evenings, while readjusting the snow system for a perfect snow result.
The trained cross-country and biathlon coach focuses on the joy of the sport during training.
The children should learn to cross-country ski in a playful way and the "fun" of the sport is always in the foreground.
Toni has always turned down coaching offers from performance centres. He finds it too beautiful here in Kitzbühel and the time with the children is simply perfect.
Toni has celebrated sporting successes mainly in popular sports. Toni has competed six times in the Wasalauf, a traditional ski marathon in Sweden, and 28 times in the Engadiner Skimarathon, which he successfully finished in 140th place out of more than 16,000 participants.
Among his great coaching successes is Lisa Hauser from Reith. Lisa and Toni are still in close contact today. They both still like to train together during endurance units in summer and autumn.
#LocalHeroes from Kitzbühel
It is the people who make Kitzbühel and its holiday villages Reith, Aurach and Jochberg this special. These are exactly the personalities we are talking about in our "LocalHeroes" series, in which the true heroes of our region are put in the spotlight. They would never call themselves heroes, but they are: Because it is only due to their passion for what they do that we can all experience the unique Kitzbühel attitude to life.