02 Jun 2017
Thaddäus, hiking and ski guide at the ADLER since 1996
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Thaddäus Moroder has been guiding skiers and hikers at the ADLER for 20 years. If you were to convert this information, he has hiked around the Earth once, and skied 20 million vertical meters.

This is the portrait of an enthusiast.

He is an athletic man with a striking face. Nice smile, easy laugh, bright eyes, the first hints of grey in the curly hair. He wears a fleece jacket, trekking pants and sports shoes. He appears slim and wiry, and when he speaks, he says very little about himself. Instead, he talks a lot about the mountains. Again and again, the conversation is about his mountains. “Everywhere in the Dolomites you will find beautiful places,” he enthuses, “but the Val Gardena Dolomites, the Sassolungo, the Odle peaks and the Sella group are my favourites. What you grew up with, you obviously know the best.”

Thaddäus Moroder is one of the hiking and ski guides in the ADLER Dolomiti. Although this is insufficient and inadequate in explaining what he really does for the ADLER. Spring, summer and fall he leads and accompanies guests through Val Gardena and into the mountains. The adventures range from easy hikes, which last a couple of hours, to more challenging tours which involve all-day hiking, and even one which goes around the clock. Throughout the winter and into the spring, Thaddäus is in charge of ski excursions along the breathtakingly beautiful slopes of Val Gardena and the Dolomit Superski area. Here again the requirements vary.  What always remains the same: “This profession connects you to unbelievable and wonderful moments and experiences.”

Moroder grew up in Ortisei, a mere hundred meters from the ADLER. His father owned a construction company, which amongst others worked for the Sanoner family. The idea that one day he would work for them as well never crossed Thaddäus’ mind. As a passionate athlete, he was not just involved in skiing, climbing and ice hockey. He was member of the Italian national hang-gliders. Along with his then-girlfriend he moved in the summer from one competition to the next, crossing Europe and back again, competing even in South Africa and Réunion. He spent nine months in London in order to learn English. It was a restless, exciting and wild life, which Moroder financed via his ski instructor job during the winter. He wasn’t thinking about the future at that time.

This all changed when Klaus Sanoner asked him for an interview. Moroder remembers like it was yesterday. They sat in the Bar of the ADLER and spoke about hikes and tours for guests. Back then, it was a completely new idea. Moroder remembers: “I had long hair at that time, the idea of a steady job was completely foreign to me, but Klaus said: ‘We are not only interested in offering you a job for one season; we want you to stay with us in the long term.’” That was twenty years ago. What has happened since can be best expressed in numbers.

Since 1996, Thaddäus has guided mountain trips equivalent to 40,000 km, or once around the world. On skis, he has traveled 20 million meters. Moroder: “I cannot honestly recall how many times I have skied around the Sella Ronda.” And laughs. Anyone who listens to Thaddäus Moroder can tell that he has found his calling. To combine sport and nature has always been his passion. What is essential is that his bosses allow him many freedoms. Thaddäus in turn is constantly thinking about something new. Taking photos of guests from the tours that they can download from the Internet is just one of his ideas. Another idea is the full moon hike. And the 24-hour hike of the ADLER is another one of his initiatives. Says Moroder: “The South Tyrolean climber Hans Kammerlander had been offering this event for a while, so we said: let’s try that sometime.” 57 kilometers. 3,000 m in elevation gain. Around the clock. These are the facts. In between sunrise and sunset lie a couple of hut stops with hearty meals and lots of coffee as well as a chain of sweat-inducing challenges. Whoever believes that 24 hours of scrambling over scree and rock, across alps and along steep paths, can only be mastered by toned performance machines is completely wrong. Thaddäus: “This tour is not suitable for everyone, ut
we have had seventy-year-old people who have completed it successfully. It also must be said: The efforts are, of course, what is appealing and attractive.”

In the end, the same applies for this hike as for all of the other tours of the ADLER. No matter if it is spring, summer, fall or winter. There are always beautiful moments. Always great experiences. It can be a spontaneous dip in the Lech de Crespëina, a mountain lake in the Peuz group. Or an encounter with chamois or eagles. Or a dramatic sunset in the distance; the Enrosadira, as the Ladin locals of the Dolomites call it.
It can also be a change in the weather with snowfall in early September. Thaddäus experienced this together with one of his hiking groups. “It was overwhelming; people still talk about it today.”

“I love what I do,” says Thaddäus Moroder: “After twenty years it is still as much fun as it was on the first day.” And what do the guests say? Thaddäus: “I have never heard anyone say that they were not thrilled by our mountains.”

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