10 years ago, you were a builder in the course of a renovation. What was important at the time?
Christof Innerhofer: For me, the equipment details were crucial. The details make the difference in the quality of life as well as in the sporting life. In the living and dining areas, I opted for external Venetian blinds. There you can play with the daylight. In the bedroom we installed shutters, because there it was a matter of privacy and darkening. Above all, the decision for the box system was right and important, because in this way, sun protection was integrated flush with the façade.
Are you sensitive to light when sleeping?
CI: I'm on the road a lot, so I need to be able to sleep anywhere. When it dawns at half past four during glacier training and the sun rises, you should be able to sleep on. At the high altitude hotels in ski resorts, sun protection is unfortunately not yet a universal standard. If I have the possibility, I like it to be completely dark. Especially when I have jet lag after overseas races. And sometimes in life you turn the night into day... afterwards you also sleep better if it is "pitch-dark".
What was the best investment in living besides to the sunshades?
CI: I would say, the equipment of my personal relaxation zones! The bed, the couch, and the fireplace. The ideal relaxing evening is the combination of a good movie, a blazing fire next to it, and then going to your own instead of a hotel bed. I see the sunshade as a perfect design element for the façade. In my view, it is the "fashion statement" of a building. In addition, it serves as extra thermal insulation on the window and thus helps to save heating costs! So, it is not only beautiful, but also makes a sustainable contribution to the energy balance of a house in winter and summer.
You are planning to build a new home in a new building. What will you pay attention to, and what will be done differently this time?
CI: As I am close to nature it will be again near the forest and thus in a very quiet location. Otherwise, it's important for me to have bright, open rooms. Plenty of daylight is essential for me, and I like to look out into the green. Floor-to-ceiling windows combined with external Venetian blinds and roller shutters are a must. That's how I live in this apartment now and that's how it should be with the newly built house.
You travel to many international stations of the ski circus. Your homeland is South Tyrol, you are an Italian citizen. You race for a French ski brand and have collaborations with a Swiss watch manufacturer and an Austrian fruit juice producer. From your point of view, what characterises the European building culture?
CI: Europe is certainly the quality winner. In terms of building substance, insulation, soundproofing, heat protection, and furnishings, there is hardly anywhere that lives up to such a high standard as in this region. You sometimes forget that until you get back to a place where you have the impression that buildings are made of cardboard and it's heated out by the windows in the winter. And in the summer, rooms are heated up much that it is becomes unbearable.
How do you cope with heat?
CI: Not so well. Although we live in the mountains, here in South Tyrol we often get 35 and more degrees on nice summer days. I have found my routine. At night or in the morning I set the windows to draught. And when I'm out during the day, I lock out the heat. With the sun shades closed, there are pleasant 22 to 24 degrees inside temperature. I don't have to have air conditioning if I can avoid it.
When you're not skiing or racing bikes, it's off to the weight room. Does a modern gym also have to have daylight?
CI: I train in a very modern gym. There is a glass façade there. It has a mega great view, but it also gets very hot as there is no sun protection. That's why I only train in the morning, because on a summer day it's almost unbearable. In such rooms, a pleasant room temperature is actually more important than the view or daylight.
Thank you very much for the interesting conversation.