Oswald Hochfilzer - enterprising and down-to-earth
Oswald Hochfilzer is an alpine pasture owner, cattle farmer, dad, ex-professional athlete. He's a go-getter and down-to-earth: That's how Oswald would describe himself.
The day starts
His sturdy shoes stomp into the stable, the air is so fresh that you can see your breath. It's 8:30 a.m. Oswald Hochfilzer has probably been awake for over four hours and has already done the office work. He gets more done in the early morning hours than in the whole afternoon. Even his grandfather lived by the principle "Everything must be done by noon." He greets the black Angus cattle with a kind of hello that he shouts into the barn, several times, like an entertainer who makes the crowd cheer. The calves yell back immediately, the big ones with a little delay.
At the Bärenbadalm
Together with his father, Oswald runs Angus cattle breeding in Kitzbühel. The cattle are doing well, not only the breeding bull. They all have more pasture than they probably need. The meat that skiers and snowboarders then enjoy in the goulash at the Bärenbadalm at 1870 meters above sea level is probably also so tender for this reason.
Oswald has been running the Alm on the Jochberg since 2004, and it is another family business. Everything is made of wood, all around only sky, clouds and mountains. Guests appreciate that, along with the simple but high-quality culinary offerings - almost everything from the region. Just like the comfortable upholstered furniture in the hut and the chic Fatboy beanbags on which they relax outside, on the large wooden terrace, before heading downhill again.
"Our social network takes place at almost 2000 meters".
Oswald is no friend of Facebook & Co. Or charmingly provocatively formulated, as on the website: "Our social network takes place at just under 2000m". Where does this aversion come from? Perhaps the aversion is also a symptom of something deeper, which is revealed when Oswald is asked about his values. He is quick to name them: Family, home, solidarity and tradition - all of which he wants to pass on to his two boys, 5 and 2 years old, who are already happy to join in when their parents do the field work. It's important to him that their mother stays with the children and shows them boundaries - he can't imagine a laissez-faire upbringing. But what Oswald finds most important is "just being normal. I like normal people, and everyone knows what's meant by that, that's the beauty of it: just being who you are."
"I am not one for the city"
Change of scene. At the Wirts'Hochalm, the little and pretty sister of the Bärenbadalm at 1685 meters, everything is new. The hut was built years ago with great attention to detail. The interior is kept in gray-red, in the bathroom with panoramic view you will find a free-standing Agape bathtub, in the restored bed of one of the three bedrooms once Emperor Franz Josef found his night's rest, and the good-smelling wood, of course from the region, dominates not only the sauna with glass front, but also everything else. Old photos of Oswald, his father and grandfather hang on the walls. When well-heeled guests are not using the premises, Oswald and his family spend the night there, on his property, his mountain, the family estate. Kitzbühel is Oswald's home. "I'm just not one for the city. If no one says 'Griaß di' in the morning, I'm stuck in traffic for half an hour - then I can't stand it." When Oswald goes on vacation with his family, "coming home is at least as nice as going away." In the summer, he goes running in the evenings; in the winter, he goes ski touring. Without Kitzbühel tourism and trade, "all this" would not exist - he is aware of that. Without Kitzbühel, Oswald would not be Oswald.
Everything according to plan
Cattle farming on one of the two alpine pastures - for many, that would be it. But in Oswald's universe there is also crayfish and trout farming, agriculture and now the latest thing: a hydroelectric power plant. Originally a sawmill with water rights, this project is also a legacy from his grandfather. In the past, it was sports - Oswald was on the junior national golf team, became Ski&Golf World Champion three times, and had success in the Skicross World Cup. One gets the impression that Oswald's life is a string of projects, and because he can't make up his mind, he does everything. In fact, there's more of a plan behind it than you might think: "My goal is to pass on this family property better than I got it." And the estate is substantial. Creating synergies is his strategy. Like linking agriculture with the alpine huts, for example, and perhaps including the hydroelectric plant in the future.
Oswald and Kitzbühel are a perfectly attuned team. Both are at once traditional and unconventional, energized and relaxed, down-to-earth and go-getting. To describe Oswald Hochfilzer in a few words: The man has good self-awareness.
We would like to thank BEST OF THE ALPS for the lines and pictures.
This article was originally published in a longer Version at Best of the Alps.