Time-out for home

As a professional volleyball player, Peter Wohlfahrtstätter is at home all over Europe. But for at least three weeks a year nothing can stop him returning to the place of his roots: Hopfgarten im Brixental.

kitzbueheler-alpen-lebenswege-peter-wohlfahrtststaetter-c-kitzbueheler-alpen-daniel-gollner-15© Daniel Gollner Fotografie

Coming home for a breather. For Peter Wohlfahrtstätter as a professional volleyball player, the world spins at breakneck speed all year round. One cup match follows the next. Within seconds a block or a smash decides on victory or defeat. The pressure to perform in top-class sport is enormous and the feeling of winning is sometimes so overwhelming, you think you can fly. But no match point or championship title can replace one particular feeling: the feeling, for a moment, of returning to your native home during the year – for a time-out and to recharge your batteries.

© Daniel Gollner Fotografie
© Daniel Gollner Fotografie
© Daniel Gollner Fotografie

Where childhood memories reside

“I had one of the best childhoods imaginable in the countryside. Skiing in Winter, cycling in Summer, and in between school and helping out on my parents' farm.” Of course, getting up to work in the stables early in the morning didn’t always evoke the same enthusiasm in Peter Wohlfahrtstätter every day, but the athlete would only learn to appreciate the high regard and humility for growing up in such a sheltered way later on in life. “As a professional athlete, my place of residence changes frequently, currently I'm at home in Lisbon. Anyone who travels as much as I do, sees the world through a different perspective. I've seen a lot of poverty and I know how lucky we are to be able to live here in Austria. A friend of mine is from the Caribbean. I showed him photos of the Kitzbühel Alps and explained that our lakes are of drinking water quality. He couldn't believe it and said he would trade with me immediately. That’s when you really appreciate what you have."

© Daniel Gollner Fotografie
© Daniel Gollner Fotografie
© Daniel Gollner Fotografie
© Daniel Gollner Fotografie

From rough diamond to high achiever

Even as a child, Peter knew that sport was his life. He started with football. At ski racing he was already on the podium and it was here that his coach, at the time, noticed him for his height and asked him if he would like to play volleyball. Asked, affirmed, done! Shortly after, he moved to Vienna and within three and a half years Peter made it to the national team. Today he looks back with a smile on his early days: "If you move to Vienna as a native Tyrolean, you have to say everything three times at first, so that everyone understands you." Stays in Poland, Belgium, France and finally Portugal followed, where he is currently under contract with Benfica. While Lisbon, a big city within close proximity to the sea, exudes a Mediterranean charm, it is his hometown of Hopfgarten im Brixental that lets him unwind completely. There is exactly a five-minute walk from his house to the foot of the Hohe Salve, Peter's very personal local mountain. “For me, mountain hiking is pure freedom. The higher you go, the more appealing and attractive the distant views become. These magnificent emotions can’t be found in any city. For me, it’s like meditating."

Tyrolean cuisine is an absolute must

kitzbueheler-alpen-lebenswege-peter-wohlfahrtststaetter-c-kitzbueheler-alpen-daniel-gollner-49© Daniel Gollner Fotografie

Of course, for complete happiness, there must always be enough time for the family. “That’s when my mother serves up everything that traditional Tyrolean cuisine has to offer: cheese dumplings, schnitzel, delicious pastries. “The extra calories are no problem for the qualified electrician as he just burns them off mountain biking or hiking to his next mountain peak. The interaction between locals and tourism as an economic factor works perfectly, in Peter’s opinion: “It's give and take. Everyone respects nature.” Peter doesn’t see overtourism as ever being an issue for his native home. “Of course, nowadays, information is much more easily accessible. Personally, I try not to let digitalisation take over from reality.” He prefers to use his time enjoying an extensive mountain breakfast with his family on the Hohe Salve’s 360° rotating panorama terrace, sunrise included, for the golden moments that will always be a memory and give the mind much more peaceful content than the increasing number of likes on Instagram and the like.

Sabine Ertl

Sabine Ertl

...nurture body and soul. Born 1986 in Carinthia, studied media and communication sciences in Klagenfurt. As a freelance journalist, copywriter and blogger she likes to travel a lot. Mountain freak, horse freak, neo-cellist and gourmet. More details: www.gedankenschmiede.at more details

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