Heroes of the Night
The working day starts at 4.00 a.m. for the snow cat drivers on the Ifen.
Frau Holle, the fairytale character who is said to send the snow down from the clouds when she shakes out her feather pillows, has been busy overnight and has deposited over 30 centimetres of fresh snow over the valley. The drivers are in good spirits this particular morning; the long-awaited snow has finally arrived.
Natural snow is needed at the Ifen ski resort more than any other resort because snow making equipment is not available here yet. This is because the terrain on the Ifen and Gottesackerplateau is particularly craggy and rocky. Visitors to these areas during the summer will know this to be true. The availability of natural snow is therefore critical here.
The men skilfully manoeuvre their enormously heavy machines between rocks and trees and past dips and holes. It is often like flying blind when the snow is falling very heavily and it is still dark. The snow cats are on the move every day and are on a mission to ensure that the pistes are in tip-top condition for the skiers to enjoy.
This photo reportage earned photographer Dominik Berchtold from Kleinwalsertal the award for the best up-and-coming photographer in Bavaria from the Bavarian Journalists’ Association. Congratulations Dominik!