We invited the globetrotting skier to try the Sunstar Ski Safari in Grindelwald and Wengen and took the opportunity to talk to him about his life and his exciting adventures.
Even as a child, Roger Gfrörer felt a deep sense of connection with the mountains and skiing. Over time, this turned into an ambition to explore every skiing area of the world. He has already travelled to 605 skiing areas in 22 countries and been on 5421 ski lifts.
“Where other people hang up pictures, I have maps of the world on the walls in my flat. Next to them are my skis, because I don’t keep them stashed away in the cellar.”
The maps of the world are dotted with numerous green and red pins. The green pins show the snow-covered parts of the world that Roger Gfrörer has already visited. The areas marked in red remain to be explored by him.
Roger is a likeable man in his late 40s who can still vividly recall how, as a child, he would always cry his eyes out when the family skiing holiday came to an end. The young Roger’s first experiences on the ski slopes were in Leysin. He clearly remembers going up a mountain between his father’s legs on a ski lift in 1975. Since then, the number of green pins on his maps of the world has increased rapidly.
However, it soon turned out that the Australians are pretty keen on skiing. Everyone talks to everyone else on the chairlifts and so the globetrotting Roger discovered that Swiss ski resorts are held in the highest esteem by Australians. You can even go skiing with kangaroos: because some species can be found in mountainous regions, even at over 2100 metres, you may indeed see these cute creatures while you’re skiing. Oh, and if you drive beyond the snow line without chains, you have to pay a large fine. You can even hire those chains there!
Roger Gfrörer has also experienced some very tense moments on his travels:
However, as he began to tell us about the wonderful desert landscapes, the volcanic regions and the really high, snow-capped mountains, he became extremely enthusiastic. Despite the poverty, he found Bariloche to be a popular tourist hotspot. Nevertheless, compared with Australia, he found Argentina to be quite “empty”.
For example, in Chile there are the so-called slingshot ski lifts. These consist of two long frameworks, each with buttons for 6 to 8 people to sit on - a perfect design for the very steep slopes there. In New Zealand they generally use rope tow lifts, similar to those used on our nursery slopes. It’s just that, there, they are extremely fast and steep. To secure yourself, you wear a kind of climbing harness with carabiner hooks that you fasten round the rope. In North America, our adventurer has even visited some skiing areas that have been awarded a quality mark. For example, the “Green Label” mark for sustainable electricity production.
Talking of “sustainability”, we ask Roger Gfrörer how it sits with his environmental conscience when he regularly goes jetting round the world. He admits that he hasn’t resolved that issue yet. Whenever possible, he tries to combine his business trips with his private interests. He also takes the question of offsetting CO2 emissions very seriously. To round off our two-day ski safari together in the Bernese Oberland, we ask Roger Gfrörer what he thinks of the skiing areas in Grindelwald and Wengen: