Robert Ettinger and his brother Paul have been skiing since the age of 5. We interview Paul about his time in Alpbach, Austria where he recently took part in the Amateur Inter-Club Championship

What is the AICC and how are you involved?

The AICC is the Amateur Inter-Club Championships which is a European skiing competition held every year between European Ski Clubs. It includes Swiss, Italian, Austrian and French clubs as well as the traditional British Clubs such as the DHO and Kandahar. The AVSC has taken part for a number of years and I am a racer for the AVSC

This year’s event took place in Alpbach, tell us more about the choice of resort and how you are connected?

Every year the race takes place in a different resort and this year it was our turn. I have been skiing in Alpbach for 37 years and a member of the club which is a training club for juniors and has a number of races and social events each year in Alpbach. 

How did this year’s competition go? How many people were there and how many nationalities? Are there any notable rivalries?

There were about 160 racers plus over 40 non-racers visiting and nationalities went from Chilean (one of our members) to pretty much every Western European nationality. There are many rivalries between clubs and individuals.  The races were over two days and included a GS, Super G and a dual slalom. 

The Brits are known for their spirited approach to group travel, competitions and club membership, can you share any fun anecdotes?

The Friday evening was a Tyrolean evening complete with local dancers and band which involved a lot of thigh slapping and chopping and a great deal of local beer. Most of the AVSC club were kitted out in lederhosen and within about 5 minutes of the dinner starting the dancing was already taking place on the tables which surprised the locals a bit.

Ettinger were proud sponsors of the event, with a highlight being the gala dinner at the end, can you tell us more about this evening, its setting and how guests were treated to a spectacular finish to their competition?

Alpbach hosts an international symposium every year and as a result it boasts an extraordinary symposium centre built into a mountain which can hold a few hundred people for dinner. Alpbach is a small village of a few hundred people so when the doors to the main room were opened up for dinner, people found it hard to believe that we had such an asset in Alpbach. A few hundred people sitting down to a formal dinner under a mountain takes some imagination. Every place had an Ettinger box sitting on the table and every racer and visitor received a beautiful and unique Ettinger card wallet which was greatly appreciated and rounded off the racing and people stay in Alpbach in a unique and memorable way. 

Your father was a very keen skier and you grew up with wooden skis firmly bolted under your feet. Tell us a bit more about your early skiing days and how does this compare to skiing experiences today?

Robert and myself have been skiing since we were about 5 and of course we started out with bamboo poles, wooden skis and leather boots and we were taken around Europe by our parents  twice a year to learn how to ski. I remember at the age of about 12 we were both in the top adult group of the ski school and really did not know where to go from there! So Robert went into ski teaching and I went into racing and we have both been skiing at least twice a year since!

Robert Ettinger and Pablo Ettinger as young boys