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Set out in order to return home

Patrick Kuprian from Ötztal developed his passion for technology as a teenager. After completing his training, he accompanied the commissioning of new mountain lifts and gondolas around the globe. The man in his mid-thirties has lost his status as a frequent flyer at the time. Today his job revolves around the gondolas and chairlifts in Sölden.

The mountain lift gene

Patrick Kuprian comes from an Ötztal family with a real mountain lift tradition. His grandfather worked on the glacier, father Helmut is a technical manager, his mother Margot informs winter sports enthusiasts looking for help and brother Marco drives a snow-grooming machine in winter. For young Patrick it was unthinkable that one day he would become an operations manager at Bergbahnen Sölden. At the age of 15 only two things were certain for him: “I wanted to learn a technical profession and at the same time not follow in my father's footsteps as operations manager.” The second resolution is a thing of the past. Patrick is now responsible for seven systems at Bergbahnen Sölden and leads a team of around 30 employees.


Encountering bears

He completed his training as an electrical system technician at the renowned Doppelmayr mountain lift manufacturer in Vorarlberg. He worked for the company for almost twelve years and was on the road worldwide as an installation engineer. Patrick especially remembers the long-term operations abroad. “In Romania it happened that bears became interested in our work. During a stay in the Caucasus, I had to wait an entire day for a soldering bolt. It was specially ordered from the Georgian capital," Patrick states.

technic Gaislachkoglbahn railway station
Patrick Kuprian

Work experience from a distance

The experience gained not only showed him that time and deadline pressures are interpreted differently abroad. For him, the human encounters are much more lasting. “Whether in Georgia, Romania or other countries, I am still fascinated by the heartfelt hospitality. Although there were language barriers, I made friends with the local workers in no time at all." One of the most challenging projects took the expert from Ötztal to Anatolia. In Erzurum, Turkey, he supervised the installation of two inclined elevators for the 2011 Universiade for over two months. "That was one of the most demanding construction sites. I needed three flights just to get there. On the high-altitude plateau at 2000 m, surrounded by mountains, temperatures of up to 30 degrees Celsius prevailed in summer," recalls Kuprian. His satisfied conclusion: “I am very happy about this time. Above all, it makes me appreciate Ötztal a lot more.”


He came back to stay

In 2012, Patrick Kuprian had enough of life out of a suitcase. His father told him on the phone about a vacancy as a technician at Bergbahnen Sölden. He took this opportunity to settle down: “The decision was of course easier for me because I met my wife at the time.” He was already familiar with the cosmos of his new employer. For Doppelmayr he led the installation of the inclined elevator to Innerwald on site. “My experience and already existing knowledge helped me a lot when I started my new career.”

Double job management


“However, there is a striking difference between building and operating a mountain lift," admits Kuprian. At Bergbahnen Sölden he can prove himself in both roles. As operations manager, he and his team ensure the safety and orderly operations of the facilities. He worked on major projects such as the construction of the Giggijochbahn in 2016, for example, as assistant site manager. Personal hobbies such as mountain biking also influence his everyday work. "We made many series of tests to adapt the chairlift in the ski area for the summer transport of bicycles. The exchange of ideas with the technicians from the manufacturer I know was also very helpful," explains Kuprian delightedly.

Giggijoch railway station

Manager without a tie

A pure office job is unthinkable for him and he enjoys the mixture of different activities: “An operations manager is a manager with a technical background. But without a tie." He gladly accepts that this also includes tackling sandbags and consciously keeps himself mentally and physically fit. He also took part in several training courses, crowned by the university degree of "Academic Expert for Mountain Lift Management". In winter he regularly reaches his working place on the mountain on touring skis.


Family always shapes you

The father of two kids has reached his goal. He can wind down together with his family. And he also realizes that his path through life is very similar to his father’s daily routine. “Basically, I have the same mentality as my dad, who was away in a construction job in Canada when he was young. We both gained experience abroad in order to further develop it at home.”
Markus Geisler

Author: Markus Geisler

The guy from Längenfeld works in a communication agency in Imst and is passionate about the multifaceted topics of Ötztal.


Markus Geisler describes his interview with Patrick Kuprian, technician and operations manager from Sölden, also in the ÖTZTAL MAGAZINE - Summer 2021. The print magazine with the latest and most interesting stories about Ötztal’s spring, summer and autumn seasons is available free of charge in DE/EN from all Ötztal Tourismus Information Offices. You can order it HERE and have it delivered to your home or view it as a flip-through brochure.