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Two tracks in the snow

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Two tracks in the snow

At ski resorts throughout Bregenzerwald, former freestyle rider Sigi Innauer, who took risks on and off the slopes, carves lines in the snow with his son Marlon.

Sigi Innauer, once a freestyle skier, stuntman for Roger Moore in a James Bond film, is today a club owner, star restaurateur and family man. But skiing is still an important part of his life, allowing him to spend valuable time with his kids in the fresh air.

Top athlete, club owner, stuntman, family man – Sigi Innauer has worn many hats in his life. Older, wiser, yet every bit as loud, the Bezau native isn’t slowing down one bit. Quite the opposite actually: Between running his restaurant and club and skiing regularly with his family, his days seem to have 26 hours. Born at 1,200 m elevation in Bezau-Sonderdach, it was as if the elements that would shape the life of young Sigi were a matter of birthplace: good food, nature and skiing. Afternoons after school, he would pass time in the forest with his brother Toni. In wintertime, skiing was their main diversion: no slope was too steep, no jump too far and no powder too deep.

He completed the first of many ski races in his life at age seven. At an early age, he soon became state champion and twice finished third at national competitions. With a clear talent for sports, he decided to further pursue his passion at the secondary school for skiing in Stams. Not long afterwards, his body punished by injuries, he pulled out of school and returned to his hometown to complete an apprenticeship as a cook instead.

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Yet during the difficult years in the restaurant business, his passion for skiing did not diminish. Even while working, he spent nearly all of his free time on the slopes or lifts, which were stamped into the ground in the 70s. From Hirschberg in Bizau to the new cable car in Mellau or the lifts in Schröcken and Warth, Sigi Innauer knew them all like the back of his hand.

“I really loved to ski at Damüls. I trained there a lot.”

Sigi Innauer

During his ski instructor training, he eventually learned to become an accomplished mogul and trick skier. Today, this technique is more widely known as “freestyle.” As a professional Freestyle skier, Sigi became European Champion in mogul skiing, won numerous World Cup races and was able to travel the world. In addition to Switzerland, France or Italy, the Freestyle Tour also stopped in North America. Unsurprisingly for a freestyler, in addition to skiing there were also plenty of parties. The impressions he made during his time at the trick circus awoke in Sigi the desire to open a nightclub – and to bring, to some extent at least, a bit of freestyle feeling to the people of Bregenzerwald. Unexpectedly, while hatching his plans for achieving this goal, he was already well on his way to becoming a stuntman.

Strictly speaking, Sigi Innauer was already a stuntman at this point. Albeit briefly, his resume in this regard couldn’t be more impressive. In the 1985 James Bond Film “A View to a Kill,” Sigi was the ski double for Roger Moore. A freestyle colleague, who had done such work often in the past, recommended him for the job and the famous ski filmmaker Willy Bogner directed the shots. His career as a stuntman was brief. “It would have been amazing and the money was great and yet job security was hard to come by,” he recalls. Moreover, Sigi actually preferred the sporting side of skiing.

“Always simulating accidents or setting myself on fire isn’t as attractive as it sounds. Besides, others were better at this. Anyway, the preliminary contract for ‘Vakanz’ had already been signed and I was able to immediately invest the money from the James Bond gigs.”

Sigi Innauer

Ah yes, Vakanz: The club that we may have forgotten to mention up until now. 1984 was the year, practically at the close of the James-Bond shoot, in which the Vakanz bar opened in Reuthe. This was the opening salvo of Sigi Innauer’s career as a club owner and star restaurateur. Unsurprisingly, skiing took a back seat during this period of Sigi’s life. Vakanz was the meeting point of a special gathering of people. Those who were there still speak of it today, and those who weren’t wish they had been. Vakanz became a magnet for artists, creative types and the alternative scene for the valley and beyond. Sigi Innauer describes the motley collection of personalities as the “workshop of the young and the restless,” the antithesis of the aprés-ski heavy, mainstream nightlife scene prevalent in Bregenzerwald. Not only were the guests different, so too was the music. “Sometimes we even played Miles Davis at two in the morning,” recalls the owner with a smile.

By the mid 90s, Sigi Innauer also managed Club Kiew in Röthis, which was primarily famous for its live-music programme. Even Falco once performed there. In 1997, he founded the “Innauer,” Vorarlberg’s first house-music club, in the basement of Dornbirn’s city market. Times change and the property instead became a restaurant and bar in 2009. In 2014, the cellar club was rechristened “Vakanz” once more. Three decades later the circle was complete.

Listening to Sigi Innauer speak about his life and his projects, one could think that his days are blessed with more than the 24 hours the rest of us enjoy. His days, it seems, have more like 26 hours. In addition to his club, bar and restaurant, he is also a family man. Although both of his sons from his first marriage are now adults, he gladly spends all of his free time with his two children from his latest relationship.In wintertime, this means hitting the slopes with his seven-year-old son Marlon and his three-year-old daughter Dalia.

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Both children love to ski, as does their mother Jasmin. “We hit the slopes as a family at least three times a week,” says the proud father. “We love the variety and prefer to change resorts as often as we can.” Small wonder, diversity is the spice of life after all and Bregenzerwald has plenty to offer in this regard. The ski resort on the Bödele practically starts at their doorstep. The Innauer family also loves to ski at the Schetteregg or in Mellau. “When spring approaches, we head further into the valley,” explains Sigi with respect to the snow. Enough Snow until Easter? No problem in the Salober area.

 

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That his kids love to be outdoors is a huge advantage. One such benefit is that skiing is once again a part of Sigi Innauer’s life. “Sport is like a breath of fresh air,” he says. “And the fresh air really does wonders. Especially in my line of work it’s essential to look after your body.

Movement outdoors helps me to stay fit.” As you may have guessed, Sigi is in great shape and even feels the need to prove this fact to himself from time to time. At the “Der Weisse Ring” in Lech, the longest ski race in the world, he came in second out of 1,000 participants on a course that features 22 km of slopes and 5,500 m cumulative elevation gain in little more than three quarters of an hour. Admittedly, Sigi doesn’t take racing nearly as seriously anymore. “The days of risking my neck at the limit are over.

It’s far more important to meet people whilst skiing and to have fun.” Even more important than skiing is having fun with his kids. When not looking after his restaurants, Sigi Innauer prefers to hit the slopes of the Bregenzerwald or elsewhere in Vorarlberg with his family. Typically the family are amongst the last ones off the mountain. Apparently, Marlon and Dalia need to see with their own eyes that the lifts have stopped running before they can be convinced to stop skiing for the day.

Author: Bartholomäus Natter