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Jagdhausalmen Alpine Pastures, Defereggen, East Tirol, Austria, Europe

The DJ at the Mother of all Après Ski Bars

Updated on 12.02.2019 in People, Photos: Bert Heinzlmeier

DJ Gerhard Schmiderer at the Mooserwirt Après Ski Bar in St Anton.
DJ Gerhard Schmiderer at the Mooserwirt Après Ski Bar in St Anton.

MooserWirt in St. Anton, “The Mother of all Après Ski Bars” epitomizes the après scene—and DJ Gerhard’s signature tunes send the crowd into an après frenzy that has to be seen to be believed. He has been spinning the turntables for 25 years and is still going strong.

“I’m on the highwaaaay to hell…” booms out from the speakers. “AC/DC has been working well for 25 years,” says Gerhard Schmiderer, MooserWirt’s longstanding mixmaster. The regular DJ has been there since 1994. He is now 68 and still cranks up the après ski world’s best-loved pop anthems seven days a week. The essence of dancing-in-ski-boots après, the slopeside MooserWirt lures skiers from piste to party by pumping out oompah music. It’s a sprawling multi-levelled place with a huge outdoor terrace, where there is space for 3,000 beer-swilling customers.

Each day, DJ Gerhard’s signature tunes send the crowd into après frenzy at the MooserWirt. Photo Credit: MooserWirtEach day, DJ Gerhard’s signature tunes send the crowd into après frenzy at the MooserWirt. Photo Credit: MooserWirt

Reading the Crowd

“A lot of thought goes into track selection, it’s the right mix that counts,” explains DJ Gerhard. His signature mix is one of pumping rock music, thumping Euro pop hits and cheesy German schlager songs along with uplifting oompah après ski dance anthems like ‘Hey Baby’. “Reading the crowd takes a lot of experience. I feed off the energy of the audience. How do they respond to the music? Should I get down to drop it low or do I have to switch it up? Music has amazing power over minds and bodies. I always try to put my best foot forward, to provide the party-goers with the finest musical atmosphere that I have to offer,” says the longstanding DJ with a cheery humility that belies his awesome talent and success. After all, MooserWirt owner Eugen Scalet credits one third of the turnover to Gerhard’s signature tunes.

Gerhard Schmiderer has been spinning the turntables for 25 years and is still going strong.Gerhard Schmiderer has been spinning the turntables for 25 years and is still going strong.

The Mother of all Après Ski Bars

Anyone who has skied St. Anton’s world-class slopes knows the MooserWirt. It is an infamous institution of intoxication. Encapsulating everything you’ve heard but dared not believe about how après is done in Tirol, it was named “The Mother of all Après Ski Bars” by international media. Every December, Euro-pop royalty is performing live at the MooserWirt for German channel RTL II, which has filmed the Aprés Ski Hits show in the bar for the past decade. The self-proclaimed “baddest après ski bar on Arlberg Mountain” claims to sell more beer per square meter of floor space than anywhere else in the country. Its tap lines are so plentiful they’re rumored to span six miles if connected end-to-end. In cellars beneath the dancing ski boots, a kilometer-long network of plastic tubing ensures that the booze keeps on flowing up in the busy bar. Apart from fueling word-class après ski experiences, the MooserWirt feeds appetites with excellent dishes and the very dedicated service team is passionate to excellence. “But most important is that I can consistently deliver positive and memorable party experiences. I just want to make people happy with my music. If they are dancing and stomping in their ski boots, I’m doing well,” says Gerhard Schmiderer.

Nowadays, DJ Gerhard works with modern digital turntables.Nowadays, DJ Gerhard works with modern digital turntables.

Après Ski in the Alps

In the early days of recreational skiing, the French came up with “après ski” to describe celebrating with fine food and drink the daily escape from hypothermia on the vaulting terrain above the resort of Chamonix. Après ski traveled east across the Alps into Austria’s mountain villages. Après ski, the expression, was adopted here (French was the language of diplomacy after all). It carried the hint of luxury, a touch of class to even the lowliest bar. Today, as every skier knows, hitting the slopes is only part of the joy of ski holidays. Getting the most conducive après-ski scene is almost as important as finding the right slopes.


The Desire to Seek Out New Music

“If someone asks me for a track that I haven’t got, I tell him: Come back tomorrow and I’ll play it for you,” explains DJ Gerhard. However, corny tracks are not part of his set. “We don’t want to offer a completely raucous and debauched après experience. We certainly don’t want to inspire binge drinking in a row by men, for example,” says the DJ. At the beginning of each new winter season, he checks the latest catchy tunes that became surefire hits at Ballermann, the renowned party mile on the Balearic island of Mallorca. “Then I ask myself: Is this the type of music we are into?” Gerhard surely has got an instinct for that kind of track selection. Only once he failed to recognize a hit: Back in 1999, when he heard DJ Ötzi’s single “Anton aus Tirol” for the first time, he wasn’t enthralled at all and didn’t expect a lot. He was proven wrong when then track was a massive hit throughout Central Europe in 2000. And has become a cult classic.

St. Anton, the „Birthplace of Alpine Skiing“ has a long, rich après ski history, and stories.St. Anton, the „Birthplace of Alpine Skiing“ has a long, rich après ski history, and stories.

A Life Dedicated To Music

When the MooserWirt closes down for the day at 8:00pm, Gerhard pursues his second job where he is equally adept at: He has been playing live gigs at weddings, anniversaries and festivities for 50 years. “Living a good and healthy life is important to being a good DJ and musician. My job only works when all the parts fit. I just can’t afford to lead a dissolute life. I need to be in top condition at all times in order to perform,” Gerhard explains the secret of his longstanding success. Now, in true family tradition, Gerhard’s son Thomas is slowly taking over at the MooserWirt. However, Gerhard is still spinning records: “As long as I can make people happy with my music, I will keep on. This curiosity and that sense of adventure keep me young at heart. This is just me.”

Having worked overseas for years, Klaus Brunner returned home to explore Tirol with his camera and microphone in tow. Home is where the heart is.

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