A tribute to our alpine skiing Olympian Paola Hofer
What the Olympics at the Huberhof are all about
A tribute to our alpine skiing Olympian
Happy Birthday 70 years Paula Hofer (Paola Hofer)
Our Paula is known today as the senior manager and the heart of our hotel. But there is much more to her than meets the eye. Paula Hofer (Paola Hofer) competed in numerous ski races in the World Cup at a young age, as well as taking part in the 1976 Olympics at international level, proving that skiing was already in her blood back then. In the following interview, she tells us about the beginning of her passion for skiing, her friendship and rivalry with German skiing legend Rosi Mittermaier and the exciting feeling of taking part in the Olympics:
"It all started relatively late," is what she tells us right at the beginning. She went skiing for the first time at the age of 13, which seems almost unusual in South Tyrol. But then things really took off. After just a few years, she started training in the nearby city Sterzing/Vipiteno (about half an hour's drive from Meransen) in a club and dedicated herself fully to her dream of becoming a skier. Her passion for the sport was clear to see. Even school, which she subordinated to training, did not stop her from pursuing her big goal and the many hours spent on the snow-covered South Tyrolean peaks soon paid off. This was followed by many FIS races in slalom, giant slalom, downhill and combined, in which she always proved to be a strong competitor.
The big highlight was her participation in the 1976 Olympics in Innsbruck, where she fought her way to the finish line side by side with Rosi Mittermaier. She describes Rosi as a good friend, as well as other competitors she has met over the years at numerous competitions.
She still remembers the moment of the opening ceremony of all nations very well. It was a big event, which is why there was already a "healthy amount of pressure" at the start of the competitions, she revealed with a laugh. Even her brother was there to cheer for her.
In the end, she finished 23rd in the giant slalom and 15th in the downhill. After a confident first run, she had to abandon the slalom in the second run because the visor on her helmet was damaged. She had expected more, especially in the downhill, her top discipline. "But that's the way it is in sport, some days go better, some don't". Despite everything, it was an event that remained particularly memorable for her, not least because you only get the chance to prove yourself every four years.
She has fond memories of the races with and against Rosi Mittermaier (who died on January 4, 2023). "As a spectator, you often think one hundredth of a second is nothing, but when she's that one hundredth faster throughout the season, you just have the feeling that she's better."
Even though several injuries put an end to her career, Paula Hofer was a fighter through and through. Despite a hospital visit, she competed in the World Cup race in St. Moritz, one of the longest distances for a ski race, on the same day and fought her way to the finish line. Skiing definitely suited her and she had fun every time she was on the snow - whether on the race slope or at home in Meransen in the Gitschberg-Jochtal ski area. Even today, skiing still has a special place in her heart.