152015Sep

A word from the Director

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• What made you come to Italy/Europe?
• Why did you leave Australia?

Two questions that I’m asked almost weekly. Usually I reply with something like: “Have you looked out your window lately” or “I love mountains” because the elongated version is somewhat of a struggle to explain at times.
In 2001 I left Australia to utilize my English passport. Thanks mum, tho I’m sure she’s kicking herself now because she hardly sees her son.

After spending two winters in Australia’s coolest ski resort Thredbo , I developed a healthy addiction for that fluffy white powder they call snow. This started my path to… here.

• Europe is smaller than Australia and full of diverse cultures, languages, fiestas, cuisine, histories and interesting people. Travel is easy and if you know how, cheap too.
• At first I intended on staying in Europe for just a few years but after a 3 month trip back in Australia I was sure I wanted to stay in Europe. Like anyone who grows up on an Island or in a small town the allure for travel can be stronger than for others. I grew up on Kangaroo Island near Adelaide. Dubbed affectionately by locals as “the Rock” and almost as hard to escape as Alcatraz was.

After spending almost a year in Brazil as an exchange student I discovered my passion for travel and languages of which I speak Spanish, Italian and Bulgarian OK, French and Portuguese… Probably best not mentioning. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would end up speaking Bulgarian but that’s where the roads took me.
In 2007 my ex fiancé and I set up a Ski Chalet business in Bansko, Bulgaria at the beginning of the Economic Crisis. Due to the low costs in Bulgaria it was an obvious choice for families and groups to go for a snowy vacation. Not long before Victoria and I separated we had expanded into Italy. Now I run the company and do most things from my phone. Thank you modern technology!! Answering emails on ski lifts or chatting to new guests on the phone while I’m biking in the mountains is the best!

In its 9th year of existence Piste and Peaks Chalets is expanding into Ski Safaris in the Dolomites and Surf Safaris in Cantabria and The Basque country of Northern Spain.
I guess that pretty much explains why a surfer from Australia’s third largest island ended up working for himself as a tour operator in some of Europe’s most beautiful locations. From guests and friends I sometimes sense an air of envy on the day of departure because they often tell me how lucky I am to live like I do.

Marty Hansberry.