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TRUE LOCALS
Tessa Mellinger

von Tessa Mellinger

February 05, 2019

TRUE LOCALS

Josef Schandl and the cross-country skiing trails

He has perhaps the most beautiful job in the world: Josef Schandl is a snow groomer driver in Leutasch. He and his team are the invisible heroes who ensure the best trails. Even before the sun rises, they are already laying the perfect track. Josef told us why he wouldn't trade his job for any other.

Tak-Zisch, Tak-Zisch, Tak-Zisch ... This is the rhythm in which the cross-country skiers make their rounds on the trails in Leutasch. They whiz through the deep snow-covered winter landscape to the beat. Josef Schandl, on the other hand, hears a completely different sound as he skis across the trails: a low humming. He is not standing on 42mm-wide skis, but is sitting in the 7-ton snow groomer. Diligently, the 253-horsepower machine works its way along - leaving behind the perfect track.

"Preparing the perfect trail is true precision work," Josef tells us.

For 15 years, the former carpenter has been at work in summer and winter. "This is my passion!" he enthuses. "There I am in nature, I could not imagine anything more beautiful!".

Over 245 kilometers of cross-country skiing pleasure

In total, there are more than 245 kilometers of cross-country ski trails to groom in the Olympiaregion Seefeld - and that every day, even several times in case of fresh snow. The cross-country skiers should always find the best track. To ensure that this works smoothly, each snow groomer has his own trails for which he is responsible. Josef's loop is one of the most beautiful the region has to offer: From Leutasch to Lake Möser. "But my favorite trail is in Muggenmoos!" he says.

Josef Schandl

Josef covers no less than 43 kilometers every day. In order to prepare both the skating and the classic track, he sometimes drives some routes several times. So the working day starts early: "In winter, we start at 6 a.m.," says Josef. Every day, there are no weekends. But he doesn't mind getting up early - on the contrary. Accompanied by the quiet hum of the snow groomer, he rides towards the sunrise. It's just him, his machine, and the occasional deer or fox that jumps in front of them. A workplace could hardly be more panoramic."You're squatting in there like a king!" laughs Josef.If it doesn't snow at night or in the morning, Josef and his colleagues ski in the evening so that the trail freezes overnight - making it even better for cross-country skiing.

Seefeld in winter

With high tech to the best trai

Every rider knows his trails inside out. Every branch, every curve they know virtually in their sleep. Nevertheless, of course, it takes good preparation for the season and technique to prepare the trails accurately and perfectly. Work on the trails therefore begins before the first snow has even fallen. "In the fall, we cut the wooden stakes, which we also use for orientation, and put up the signs," Josef knows. In addition, branches and trees have to be cleared from the paths, and bridges have to be erected and dismantled. As soon as the first snow arrives, holes and humps have to be filled in order to have smooth trails throughout the season.

The first track: After the first snowfall, the preparation work has begun.

Then, when it's time to hit the trails, Josef is supported by powerful technology: The machines are equipped with the SnowSat system. Here he can see exactly where he skied last year. The exact snow depth is also displayed to him. So procedure is out of the question!

With an average of 16km / h the machine moves over the trails. Perfect to be able to admire the winter landscape at the same time.

Josef and his colleagues always strive to draw the perfect track - and the cross-country skiers are happy to thank them for it. Sometimes it can happen that the runners stop and shout nice things to him or clap.

"They really have a ball!" says Josef happily. "And then I have a good time, too, when I look at their smiling faces!"

Josef Schandl - Region-Originals

FIS Nordic World Ski Championships Seefeld 2019

Seefeld was the proud host of the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships Seefeld 2019 from 19.02. to 03.03. In the course of the World Championships there was a lot to do for Josef and his colleagues: The world's best athletes should find the world's best trails! All information about the World Championships can be found here.

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