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To celebrate the start of winter, we’re talking to one of our wintery small businesses, Tirol Sports.
Take a trip to Victoria’s ski fields this winter and on top of Mount Hotham you’ll find Tirol Sports, a small family owned ski hire business right inside of the large Arlberg Hotel.
Owner, Hagen Dobrautz, long-time skier, learnt to ski in Australia and then spent several ski seasons in Europe before returning to Australia to start Tirol Sports. He started the business as a way to not only control his own success, by working for himself but to also get involved in an industry that he was passionate about.
“I wanted to start my own business because it would allow me to directly see the fruits of my labour and allow me to be involved in a fun industry,” explained Hagen.
Opening his own business has allowed Hagen the freedom to not only be his own boss but to also sneak in a few runs on the ski field almost daily during the ski season.
“Even if it’s only for a few runs” he admits.
Not only do the slopes call him to work each day, but also the tight team that he has put together. When asked about his favourite part of his job he also lists “working with good people in a fun environment with people that are both happy and motivated to be there.”
“All our staff members are keen skiers or snowboarders, and all have varied interests ranging from backcountry and mountaineering to park and freestyle riding,” he says.
Hagen’s store is a crowd favourite too, with the many positive reviews on their Facebook page illustrating how Tirol Sports often goes above and beyond.
“I had a major boot blow out and dropped onto Tirol Sports to see if it could be fixed,” says one review. “As it wasn’t, Hagen gave me an excellent deal on some boots to get me through my stay. He also noticed that my stance setup on my board was wrong and twigged it, so I now have much more carving control. If you have any trouble with your gear, head over to Tirol Sports as their service and aftercare are second to none.”
Another customer recalls how he “felt more like friends than customers”, a good indication of the passion that Hagen and his team give to their job.
“I felt like I had to invent something new to be a business owner and ‘succeed’,” explains Hagen. “As it turns out, there are plenty of functioning businesses that are for sale for various reasons and you can add your creative touch to anything, regardless whether its existing or a startup.”
If your heading down for a ski or snowboard this year and need to hire some equipment, have your equipment tuned, repaired or even have a chat about the best slopes to hit, head to the Arlberg hotel and have a visit with Hagen and his team at Tirol Sports. Even better, mention this article and they’ll throw 15% off ski and equipment hire.