Ski touring with one of our sheep farmers
Marcus Berther from Disentis in Switzerland is one of our lavalan sheep farmers whose wool we process. What started as hobby farming with 20 animals has developed over the years into a full-time business with round about 300 sheep. Peter from lavalan had the great pleasure to go on a ski tour with Marcus close to where he and his sheep are based.
See the full video about the tour and lear more about Marcus passion for snow and sheep.
How would you describe your passion for ski touring?
For me, ski touring is a balance to my daily work, so when I walk up there in the beautiful landscape, I relax from everything else. I feel very close to nature. If I plan to go on a ski tour in the morning, I'm really looking forward to the fresh snow, the beautiful sunrise, and the run up. You do something for your fitness and for your health.
When going up, I check the whole area to see if there is a super nice slope to go down somewhere. Most of the time you manage to find one and inside the slope, in the deep snow you have the feeling that you are close to nature. It's such a pleasure. That's actually what makes touring so appealing. When you come home in the after a tour, you're just the happiest person on earth.
Is it possible to combine your passion for snow and sheep in your daily routine?
When keeping sheep, you have the option of having flexible feeding times. You don't have to be in the barn at 6 a.m. in the morning. You can start at 6 a.m., then you’re done earlier, but you can also go to the stable at 10 a.m. or just feed the sheep after the tour. It is simply important for the sheep that they have enough to eat. My wife is also around and can check whether there are fresh lamb etc.
What was the exact tour we did today?
We started at Segnas by train to Tschamut and the Oberalppass. From there we traversed the Val Maighels to walk up towards Tomasee and further up to the left of the Rossbodenstock to Piz Toma. In this whole area our sheep graze in the summer months.
Is this an area where you are touring quite a bit?
Not as much. I find it a very nice area for touring. But there are many others. We have a lot of options here. I can walk in many directions from my sheep shelter.
Please tell us more about how sheep farming contributes to erosion & avalanch protection as well as biodiversity?
We preferably graze the sheep where there is longer grass. When the snow falls, the snow doesn't stick to the grass so much and when the snow is wet and heavy, it doesn't tear up the turf with it and erosion as well as avalanches might be avoided. The turf and the variety of plants is much better where we regularly graze our sheep.