Seeing the beauty of nature
“I have given many people tours of Andermatt and the Urseren Valley, and on the way I always discover something new myself.” Bänz Simmen is more than a tour guide for tourists. Over the years, he has collected a great deal of knowledge about the Urseren Valley. The inspiration for this is something he found on a long bicycle tour in the Far East. “We took a year and rode from Andermatt to New Zealand. The journey was formative for me in many ways. But the main thing I realized is that history, culture, and geography are inseparably intertwined.”
Even before his long trip, Bänz Simmen already had a lot to do with tourists, as snowboard instructor and proprietor of the winter sports store “Snowlimits”. As a burgher of Realp who grew up in Andermatt, he naturally knows the region very well. Nevertheless: “I have never been at a loss with the geography questions; I always knew the mountains around me – but when guests asked history questions about the Urseren Valley, I simply knew too little”. So Bänz Simmen sat down with the books and started to study.
After several years in the snowboard and bicycle business, he sold “Snowlimits” and realized a new idea: the internet café Kiosk 61. Bänz Simmen has received increasingly frequent inquiries by many people to be their tour guide. Now he is guiding 3,000 to 4,000 guests a year. “When I am snowshoe trekking with a group between Oberalp and Nätschen, and no sign of civilization is to be seen, that’s something many guests find unbelievable. This beauty and quality which nature gives us is exactly what I try to provide.”
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