126 days of skiing in a single season.
Back to life
Kurt's life also had some difficult moments: At the age of 14, he was involved in a serious road accident and his life was completely changed. After various operations, Kurt made a full recovery and was allowed to leave hospital after a year and return home. After narrowly escaping permanent wheelchair dependency, a new phase of his life began.
Due to the accident and the physical consequences, he had to make the decision to start training as a commercial employee, although he would originally have much preferred to choose a trade such as carpentry or mechanics. He completed his commercial training at a company in Zurich, where he worked for a further five years after his apprenticeship. But his heart drew him back to his homeland, the Samnaun Valley. Kurt worked for the municipality in Samnaun for 35 years as Head of Finance and Taxes. He retired at the age of 60 and has been enjoying his retirement ever since. When asked whether he misses his work in the municipality, Kurt replies: "Not at all, I thought that 35 years with the municipality of Samnaun was enough. My successor Sabrina Jenal is doing a perfect job, so it was the perfect time to stop." But he couldn't leave the municipality completely, so he took on a number of positions. Kurt is a hiking trail inspector and has been President of the Samnaun municipal audit committee since 2022.
Where you were born and grew up is your home. I'm always drawn back there. Especially to the mountains, which are wonderful all year round. That's why Samnaun is a suitable place for me.
Connection to Samnaun
Kurt's favourite places in summer are the Fuorcla Curschiglias, the Piz Motnair, the Muttler or the area towards Zanders in Austria. In summer, he loves hiking and travelling. In winter, he pursues his great passion, skiing. Winter is far too short for him.
126 skiing days in a single winter season
Kurt's retirement gives him the opportunity to hit the slopes almost every day. In the 2022/23 season, he set a new personal record with 126 ski days. He has never lost his love of skiing and the mountains.
Kurt's favourite slopes in Samnaun
In the Silvretta Ski-Arena Samnaun/Ischgl, his favourite piste changes from year to year. Last season it was piste no. 40 from Palinkopf to Gampenalp. But the most beautiful and best piste for Kurt is no. 60 from Alp Trida to Samnaun-Laret, because that is also his favourite piste of the year. The piste is officially called the "Dutyfree-Run" - Kurt simply calls it "Westi's-Ride" - and it is always a worthy end to a day's skiing.
In the morning, Westi enjoys the empty pistes around Alp Trida, then from 9 a.m. he makes his rounds via Visnitz to Alp Bella and finally to the Muller lift, where he visits the chamois "Leopold". The chamois often sunbathes on the Mullerfelsen rock directly above the mountain station of the Muller lift. When he is travelling alone, he is drawn to the "smugglers' circuit". If he is travelling with colleagues, they can determine the route
The early bird catches the worm
Kurt prefers to start his skiing days at 8.00 a.m. on the first bus to the mountain railway. When he arrives at the top of the Alp Trida saddle, his stomach tingles with happiness. If he doesn't catch the first bus and arrives at the valley station half an hour later, the cable car staff mock him and greet him with "Good afternoon". He takes it with humour, because it always gives them something to laugh about. Kurt has been renting seasonal skis from a Samnaun sports shop for years. This means he always has perfectly prepared skis and can try out different brands and models, some of which are only coming onto the market for the coming season and are the first time they have touched snow.
Thomas Tumler Fan Club
Kurt is not only a keen skier, but also a passionate fan of the Ski World Cup in general and Samnaun skier Thomas Tumler in particular. In 2013, he and his colleagues founded the Thomas Tumler Fan Club when he won the European Cup. The fan club always organises fan trips when ski races take place in the surrounding area, for example at the start of the season in Sölden, Garmisch or Alta Badia. Kurt knows all the results of the Samnaun athletes and organises a fan evening in the summer where you can discuss with Thomas Tumler, take photos and watch videos. At the fan evening, "Sportreporter Westi" asks Thomas Tumler tricky questions from his infinite skiing knowledge, and Thomas Tumler usually knows the right answer.
In summer, when the mountains of Samnaun are resplendent in their floral splendour, Kurt Westreicher can often be found hiking. His absolute favourite route is the panoramic circular hike from Samnaun-Compatsch via Alp Bella to Fliesseralp. The hike begins in Samnaun-Compatsch at the church and initially leads towards Alp Bella. The trail leads over the upper Malfrag and the Matthäuskopf to the Fliesser Alm, where you can stop for refreshments and a tasty meal. Afterwards, it's a leisurely walk back to Samnaun-Compatsch. The hike can also be done in the opposite direction, where you can stop off at Alp Bella.
Kurt's fascination for the Samnaun mountains is boundless. He loves hiking in the mountains. And if a hike is too challenging, he likes to take his colleagues with him to help him. In Samnaun there is a very special challenge, the Bürkelkopf, which is a proud 3030 metres high. Kurt needs support on this mountain, but the breathtaking view makes up for the effort.
In summer, Kurt has a few favourite places where he finds peace and quiet and enjoys nature to the full. One such place is the path from Samnaun-Laret in the direction of Curschiglias. If you continue along the end of the forest path, you will reach the "Calcon" spot. From this vantage point, you can see his birthplace and have a wonderful panoramic view of the surrounding area.
His insider tip is the Stammerjoch circular hiking trail. The hike starts in Val Musauna and leads up to the Stammerjoch. From there, you can enjoy an impressive view of the surrounding mountains and the Stammer lakes. The hike continues to the Maisa hut, where around 900 sheep graze in mid-August. There is even a "petrol station" at the Maisashütte where you can buy self-service drinks. After a short break, the forest path leads back to Samnaun village. This hike takes around 4 ½ hours and promises unforgettable impressions.
From Samnaun to La Paz to the world:
Kurt's passion for travelling
Kurt's love of travelling began when, at the age of 14, he read a travel report in GEO magazine about the city of La Paz in Bolivia. The fact that this city (3600 metres above sea level) is higher than the highest mountain in Samnaun aroused his curiosity. So he had to visit this town in person. Ten years later, he was able to fulfil this dream. The planned one-month visit to La Paz turned into 18 months in South and Central America. His fascination for the Andes and Patagonia remains unbroken to this day. Since then, he has visited every continent except the Arctic and Antarctic and has been able to go on longer trips thanks to his competent deputies in the community. Last autumn, he spent four weeks in South Africa, accompanied by his colleagues Arno Jäger and Rico Carnot. This trio is a well-rehearsed team: Rico was the driver on this trip, which meant that the two not-so-young globetrotters Arno and Kurt were able to make their trip to South Africa even more enjoyable.