Organic farmer, ski area manager, snow enthusiast
With daughter and son on the mountain
Daniel is out with his daughter, son and a work colleague. It is early in the morning and the wind is fresh. «I like to feel nature. That's exactly why I like to go ski touring. Here in Val Müstair, I have countless opportunities to do so and, what's more, I'm out and about in a UNESCO biosphere reserve.»
Summit destinations as far as the eye can see
Only a few more metres and it's done. What a panorama! On one side lies the untouched nature of the Swiss National Park, on the other, one ski touring mountain follows the next. Daniel explains: «Piz Daint, Piz Dora and Piz Terza are the classics. But there are also tours that I have never done in all these years.»
Powder snow until May
Even at 60, he can't get enough of skiing in powder snow. «Thanks to the altitude and the slopes in all expositions, you can still find good snow in May,» Daniel knows. Many tours start directly in the village. If you want to save metres in altitude, you can take the PostBus to the Ofenpass or to the Minschuns ski area.
A «Jauer» through and through
Daniel is a typical Münstertal man: close to nature, versatile and committed. And that's also how he approaches his job as head of the Minschuns ski area. Whether as a machine operator, patroller or lift worker - he lends a hand everywhere. Daniel is also a busy man in other ways, be it in the Samaritan association, as president of the Tour de Ski association and last but not least as an organic farmer.
With the skis directly to the organic farm
Daniel can ski from Minschuns to his farm in Tschierv. «That way I can do the final check on the way down to the valley.» And when does it end? «After I've cleaned the barn and checked that my 23 mother cows, my bull and my two horses are doing well.»
Life in the nature park
His ancestors already lived as farmers in the valley. And Daniel wouldn't want to live in any other place in the world either. «We may be a bit remote here, but the intact and wonderful nature compensates for everything. No wonder, the Val Müstair is a nature park of national importance.»
More about the snow-loving organic farmer Daniel Pitsch
«I can switch off on a ski tour.»
Pristine nature, high mountains, a snow-sure climate: Val Müstair is a unique ski touring area. Where else can you make tracks in a UNESCO biosphere reserve? Local Daniel Pitsch knows the best routes.
The inhabitants of Val Müstair are as versatile and down-to-earth as the nature is diverse and pristine. They call themselves «Jauer» and Daniel Pitsch is a typical one of them. The expression derives from the Rhaeto-Romanic word «jau» (= me) - a linguistic peculiarity of Val Müstair compared to its neighbours in the Engadine. The Jauer dialect is Daniel's mother tongue and this is also the language he speaks with his ski tour companions, all three of whom help out in the Minschuns ski area: Daughter Braida, son Jachen Armon and Ramun Tschenett. Today, Piz Vallatscha is their summit destination.
Every peak can be climbed with skis
They appreciate the many possibilities that their home valley offers: «You can do long ski tours directly from the valley or shorter ones from Buffalora on the Ofenpass, from the Minschuns ski area or from the hamlet of Lü,» Daniel explains. And the good thing is that all the starting points can be reached by PostBus. You can safely leave the car in front of the hotel and go ski touring for a week.
The region is known by connoisseurs because the surrounding mountains are made for ski touring. Most of them are over 3,000 metres high, but slope rather flatly; as a result, you can climb practically any peak on skis. «But there are also steep descents,» says Daniel. The north descent from Piz Daint through a wide gully is one of his favourite variants. "But you need very safe conditions to do it!
A boss who gets stuck in
Daniel has been the manager of the small and fine ski resort of Minschuns, which lies just above the Ofenpasshöhe, for 22 years. The 60-year-old is a doer and lends a hand wherever two nimble hands are needed. In the evening, he usually does the final check on the long valley run down to Tschierv, he can drive all the way to his farm. He runs a purely organic farm, like practically all the farmers in the valley. Not a matter of course in Switzerland, but wonderfully fitting for life in the Biosfera Val Müstair nature park.
He then spends two hours with his animals. He keeps suckler cows, Angus cattle, which feel particularly at home at the high altitude of the Val Müstair. Daniel Pitsch has very busy days, because he is also involved in various associations, commissions and boards. But whenever he finds the time, he puts on his climbing skins and goes for a run. For him, there's nothing better than going on a ski tour: «It's the best way for me to switch off and relax».