Active relaxation in white water
Andreas from the Motion Outdoor Center in Lofer loves to spend his break accompanied by the sounds of the rushing water in the Seisenbergklamm and with almost untouched nature in front of him. In the gorge, relaxation is just a stone’s throw away – behind the next bend, on the bank of the stream or on a little bench, surrounded by majestic mountains.
Lying in the sun for hours is not for him, says Andreas Voglstätter. Active relaxation, which the Seisenbergklamm offers, if much more attractive to him. We accompany the founder of the Motion Outdoor Center through the natural monument near Weißbach. It is early in the day and it is still peaceful in the gorge. Here, between the wild rushing water, the raw rock and the deep green leaves of the trees, the 56-year-old master photographer can relax. “In the Seisenbergklamm, even in high summer like now, there’s a certain freshness”, says Andreas, as we stop next to a bend in the river. “And look at those colours over there, the different shades of green”, Andreas makes a sweeping gesture. “The colours here in the gorge, the interplay of light and shade, it is unique for me. Here is the first place you notice the coming of autumn. It has often happened to me that I’ve come to the gorge and thought: so, autumn is here now.” Andreas smiles and we continue our stroll.
Experiences on the mountain and in the water
The native of Lofer probably knows every stone here in the gorge. He hasn’t just been coming here for 36 years privately to enjoy the nature but also for his work. Andreas Voglstätter founded the Motion Outdoor Center almost four decades ago and was the first in the region to offer rafting. Nowadays nature, sport and outdoor enthusiasts – private groups as well as business groups – can book various experiences on the mountain and in the water with the guides from “Team Motion”. Andreas is a multi-talented athlete – he was a member of the Austrian National Team in White Water Slalom, Austrian Vice-Champion in slalom in 1986 and European Raft Champion in 1991 in the Team Austria. And this is reflected in the activities available at the Motion Center. There is something for everyone – from canyoning to archery; from kayaking to via ferrata.
“Nature is different every day”
“It is important that our guests don’t forget that we are in nature and that every day is different”, says Andreas. We stop for a moment on the wooden walkway which leads 600 metres into the gorge and look down at the water which makes its way through the gorge, whirling and bubbling. Over almost 40 years, lots of water has flowed down the Saalach. Many guests have come here since the foundation and have discovered the white water in the Salzburger Saalachtal with Andreas and his team. It’s even nicer for “Captain Andreas” when guests become regular customers. “Just yesterday a family was here who I have been skiing with for nearly twenty years. When I met them the first time, their children were still in the womb. Now they come to Lofer as well and are bigger than me”, laughs Andreas, a tall man himself.
Something to remember for a long time
We want to know what he treasures most about his work. Andreas doesn’t have to think about it for long. “That we can give guests an experience that they otherwise wouldn’t have had. My reward is when I see what joy people have and that they can take something back home that they will remember for a long time.” We stop for a while to let a family pass by on the wooden walkway. “Recently a guest came in the door who was wearing one of our T-shirts”, Andreas continues. “It was at least twenty years old!”
Closely connected to the nature of the Salzburger Saalachtal
Andreas laughs and runs his fingers through his hair. We notice in every moment of our conversation how connected he is with his job, his vocation – and with nature in the Salzburger Saalachtal, with the white water, the high mountains and the green forests. In his free time, Andreas tells us, he breeds riding horses with his wife and three children. “Horses and sport, those are my hobbies”, he says. “Exercise in nature generally but particularly together with my kids.” Meanwhile, we have reached the bank at the top end of the gorge – another of Andreas Voglstätter’s favourite places. Not far away is the Kühkranz and all around us the majestic Loferer Steinberge stand out clearly from the deep blue summer sky. Andreas makes himself comfortable on the bench, breathes deeply and turns to us with a beaming smile. “It’s nice here, huh?”