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Even before the overnight guests think about breakfast, Bettina and Manfred Huber have already completed the first part of their working day. The young farmers carry on a centuries-old family tradition and manage the Filzmoosalm in the SalzburgerLand at an altitude of over 1,700 metres / 5,580 feet.
At the rustic Filzmoosalm the clocks tick the same way they did 600 years ago. There is neither hot water nor continuous electricity, let alone internet. And yet there is pure joie de vivre to be felt - "perhaps precisely because you have to limit yourself to the essentials?" laughs Bettina Huber, the alpine farmer. The Filzmoosalm is one of the oldest alpine pastures in the region and is located in a mountain basin in the Ellmautal, surrounded by over 2,000 m / 6,500 ft high mountains. The alpine hut was built in 1500 by Bettina's ancestors and has been managed ever since. It has always been passed down from generation to generation and with it the craft of making butter and cheese.
"Although I spent a of my childhood on the alpine pastures, I never wanted to become a farmer's wife and certainly never wanted to live on the alpine pastures for four months a year," explains the trained hairdresser. And yet that was precisely the decisive reason that finally convinced her: "Up there I lead a completely different, much more familial life. There is no everyday stress and, despite the hard work, the Alm is a place to switch off and take a deep breath - for my little daughter, my husband and me." The young couple takes prejudices with humour: "For some people, we might be weird Alm-Öhis, because we are still so young and prefer to live on the Alm than in the city," grin Bettina and Manfred, "but people realise themselves when they are up here, how beautiful it is." The wooden floor creaks, the walls are crooked and the beds are older than anyone staying overnight. And yet - or perhaps because of this? - it sleeps wonderfully in the mountain air. "We also have many international guests in the summer. Up to ten people can spend the night here - and we are usually well booked," says Bettina.
After the snow melts, the meadows around the Filzmoosalm first have to recover from the cold season before the Hubers' cows are driven out onto the lush pastures at the beginning of June. They spend day and night outside, grazing the meadows evenly. "otherwise we would have to work up there manually with special mountain mowers. That's why we leave it to our Pinzgauer cows. They enjoy it more and are used to these conditions," explains Manfred, who mainly looks after the animals and the farming.
Manfred also took a career change as a trained sound and video technician: "At first I thought I could do farming alongside my job, but then I quickly realised that working on the farm and on the alpine pasture is a full-time job," recalls the current alpine pasture farmer. He takes care of the pastures in the valley in the summer so that there is enough fodder on hand for the winter. "The basic idea of an alpine pasture is that in summer the pastures on the mountain are used. The animals eat fresh grasses and a good side effect is that they clear footpaths and help keep the flora and fauna in balance." At the end of September, the cows head back to the valley, where they are fed on the hay produced at Prommegghof until they are allowed to return to the pasture the following June. The family also spends the winter in the valley: "Unfortunately, our Filzmoosalm cannot offer the luxury of hot water and electricity," says Bettina. "We enjoy that during winter in the valley - we're not quite so ascetic after all."
Even on rainy days, hikers come to the Filzmoosalm. "No matter what the weather is like, nature up here is always fascinating and life on the alp is really slowing down. It gives you new energy," explains the mountain farmer. This is what also fascinates the young family about their alp. "The vegetation is really diverse and you can taste it in our products," says Bettina.