The search for happiness starts in the darkness at six in the morning. The sun is still hidden behind the mountains of Kaprun when Christoph Bründl straps on his skis and heads out. At his side: Benedikt Böhm, extreme mountaineer and today Christoph’s happiness coach. The goal of their tour today: to climb the Dreiwallnerhöhe and find happiness. “True happiness comes after pain,” says Benedikt, who has already climbed several of the world’s 8,000m-plus mountains. It’s clear to his mind that “the best example of happiness after pain is to be found ski touring.” First the burn of the climb, then salvation at the top. “Earn your turns,” is what Benedikt calls this. Moments of happiness are all the greater if you have to fight hard to earn them. It is especially easy to feel happiness in the mountains, Benedikt suggests: “It doesn’t matter how long you were away for, how stressed you are: The mountain is always there and is always exactly the way it was when you were last there.” Mountains are great sources of happiness if only because of their constancy.
By the time Christoph and Benedikt are heading up through the snow, the rising sun has created a strip of red along the horizon like so much liquid lava behind the black peaks. Benedikt has numerous down-to-earth tips for more happiness in everyday life: Among them is reduction – learn to reduce and to not always have the feeling you are missing something. And fear management is also key. “Before I went down the big slopes at Chamonix on skis, I recorded and drew myself fear maps showing where I felt the most fear on the downhill,” Benedikt says, pushing one ski in front of the other. Visualization helps with overcoming fear. “Tackle your fear, work on it, and then your experiences in life will be more intensive and make you happier.”
The sun is now up; its orange shadow on the snow gives way to a yellow shimmer. Christoph’s cry of joy echoes from the mountain sides. “So massively beautiful! Rarely have I seen such a gorgeous sun-up. Marvelous to be able to experience it in my own backyard – and with you.” Christoph gives Benedikt a friendly pat on the back. And the two strip the skins from their skis, tighten their boots, and glide happily through the powder snow back down to the valley, to normal life