When Christoph started carving at the age of 8, his enthusiasm for the Krampus began at the same time. Today Christoph is the chairman of the Ruatn Pass Kitzbühel and has been running the Krampus Museum Kitzbühel for 13 years.
Christoph Rieser is a trained carpenter, but his love of the Krampus has not left him and so he has continued his education and refined his mask carving art in courses at the carving school in Elbigenalp.
There are currently around 4,000 mask carvers in Austria who practise this art as a hobby or profession.
It takes about 40 hours to make a mask - from cutting it out with a chainsaw to carving, painting and finally attaching the head skin. Christoph Rieser carves about 30 masks a year.
The masks are traditionally made of Swiss stone pine. Swiss stone pine is light, smells very good and is a native tree.
The head fur is usually made of goat fur. The Gwandl, as the Krampus' clothes are colloquially called, are also made of animal fur and are made to match the Krampus. A few years ago the horns were made of artificial horn, but today most of them use real horn again out of a sense of tradition.
Christoph's enthusiasm for the Krampus and the associated custom has accompanied him since he was 8 years old. Then, 13 years ago, he took off with his idea for his own Krampus museum. The Krampus Museum is located below the spectator stand of the Court Küchenmeister, near the Sportpark. The Krampus welcomes visitors at the entrance.
After a few steps, you already feel like you're in a completely different world.
The exhibition rooms, furnished by Christoph himself, currently hold 768 masks.
The oldest mask dates back to 1903, and new masks are being added all the time, so the exhibition rooms are expanding accordingly.
Until a few years ago, the Krampus was only really known in our latitudes, but after the US horror comedy "Krampus" with Michael Dougherty at the latest, it also attracted international attention.
So it is not surprising that international guests visit the Krampus Museum. In the exhibition rooms you get a very good impression of what is shown during the Krampus processions and where the enthusiasm for the Krampus comes from. The Krampus Museum also illustrates the customs surrounding the Krampus and St. Nicholas.
All the masks on display in the museum have also been part of a parade
Christoph tells us.
Each individual mask also has its own story - which carver carved the mask, when and where, which procession the mask was part of and what exactly it represents.
#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.