Like father, like son

Like father, like son

 The mountains are their home,

climbing their passion.

A portrait of the alpine guides

Alfons and Stefan Fassnauer from Ridnaun.



"Mountains have always magically fascinated me," explains Alfons Fassnauer. As a young boy, he already started climbing and exploring his surroundings; then he worked as a shepherd for his father's goats in the mountains for 4 years. Eventually, he joyned the Alpenverein and Alpine Rescue as an active member - not long before he made up his mind to become an alpine guide. His determination led him to success: since 1987 he claims the title of "International Mountain Guide." By now he knows the Alps from Montblanc to Watzmann like the back of his hand. His portfolio includes more than 30 different four-thousand-meter summits; he can no longer say how many times he has guided his clients to the summit. "Definitely very often," the 62-year old smiles. As an accountant in his regular job, climbing and mountain guiding has also been a very welcome counterbalance to the sedentary and sometimes stressful office work. Being able to share his passion for the mountains with his wife and three children has been an additional motivation for him.


When the mountain fever strikes


He properly passed on the "mountain virus" to his eldest son: Stefan followed in his father's footsteps at an early age, with his first ski tours at the age of five and his first alpine climbing tours at the age of twelve. At 20 years old, Stefan made the decision to pursue the formation as a mountain guide. He has now been taking courses and passing exams for two years - and like his father, he has also succeeded. From 2024 onwards, he will be able to guide his clients up the italian mountains, and starting in 2025 - if all works out well - worldwide.


"Being able to fulfill someone's alpine dream is always an indescribable experience for us"

Both father and son agree that being an alpine mountain guide is very demanding. "Of course you have to be technically perfect, whether you're skiing or climbing," emphasizes Alfons. Stefan adds: "You also have to be a mentor, sometimes even a psychologist, convey a sense of serenity and safety and be well-prepared in an emergency. Nevertheless, the satisfaction of a job well done is all the more rewarding.


"When people - both men and women - burst into tears of joy as they reach the summit, it touches me deeply, even after so many years."


Neither of them is concerned that something bad might happen on a tour. "Fear is always a bad companion," says Alfons. Especially on ski tours, risks and dangers are sometimes almost unpredictable. If the weather suddenly changes, turning back has to be considered, no matter how difficult it may be. But safety always comes first, as you don't reach your destination at the summit, but only when you are back home safe and sound. Their favorite tour in our vacation region? "The most requested tours are those to the Zuckerhütl in Ridnaun and to the Tribulaun in Pflersch; glacier tours are also often booked," says Alfons. And Stefan adds with a smile: "You don't always have to do trendy tours and follow well-known trails. A mountain guide is likely to have a few insider tips up his sleeve."


Stefan and Alfons at the Ortler, South Tyrol's highest peak.

The particularity of this photograph:


Alfons was guiding his guests along the standard route and Stefan was climbing the north face with friends. Both arrived at the summit at the same time, not knowing that the other was also on the mountain.

Would you like to go on a guided tour and climb your dream summit with an alpine guide? Push your limits on a climbing tour? Enjoy the white beauty of winter on a ski tour?


Alfons Fassnauer Tel. +39 335 5216462
Stefan Fassnauer Tel. +39 348 9731354
and their mountain guide colleagues from Ratschings
Martin Parigger Tel. +39 349 622 0125
Fabian Bacher Tel. +39 338 176 2061

Text: Barbara Felizetti Sorg