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Dan Loutrel

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"I'm less exhausted after a tour of the Matterhorn than I am after spending the day with my three kids."

American Dan Loutrel is a ski-maker and mountain guide in his adopted home of Göschenen.

Foto. Martin Wabel

Dan's move to Andermatt, where he founded his own ski company Birdos, is a story of gradual local acceptance.

As an American, what sort of reception did you get in Urserntal?

"In Userntal people are quite reserved. As a foreigner, I experienced three distinct phases. First, everyone was curious to see who I was. Then I was often told off because I didn't know how things worked, like the recycling system. Now I feel totally accepted. But it took ten years."

What do you do in your free time?

"I've discovered that bringing up kids is one of the hardest jobs in the world. Both my former and my current partner work, so at the end of the day, when I've finished looking after the kids, I'm more exhausted than I am after doing a tour of the mountains. So for me, free time is being a mountain guide. As well as skiing and climbing, which I like to do on my own, we often go out together as a family on bike rides or on our sailing boat."

 

Foto: Martin Wabel

Where are you happiest?

"In the mountains or at sea. The main thing is to be somewhere a little wild; then I feel really free. When my mobile is out of juice and there's no wifi, that's when I begin to live."

 

Foto: Martin Wabel 

Who do you most admire?

"Anyone who can combine work, family and leisure."

The Urserntal valley has changed a lot recently. What do you think of all this change?

"I'm in two minds about it. For me personally, I would have preferred Andermatt to stay just as it is. But I recognise that we have to attract new people to the area, otherwise facilities such as the ski infrastructure wouldn't be developed. I just hope that Andermatt remains accessible to everyone. For us it's become too expensive, so we've moved to Göschenen."

What are your plans for the future?

"For the next 15 years or so, we'll stay here for the sake of the kids. But then I can imagine us starting a new adventure somewhere else. The world is a big place and I'd like us to see as much of it as possible, whether that's at sea or on dry land."

 

Foto. Martin Wabel


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