It has been 50 years since Werner Zanier and his wife Gabi showed great courage. In 1969, the two East Tyroleans took the step towards independence with their own brand of gloves. What started as a small company with a lot of financial risk has now become Austria's market leader in the field of winter sports gloves.

All or nothing.

Werner has worked hard on his know-how. “We had a sporting goods store in Lienz and sold gloves from a Canadian manufacturer. During my time as a ski trainer in the USA, I visited him and learned everything about glove production.” In 1969, Werner and Gabi took a step into the unknown. They put everything on a card, not knowing if or how the business would start. “Our whole heart and soul went into the project. At the beginning, it was of course difficult to get orders as a new company, so we had to be there with all our efforts.”

Honest and human.

This passion for their business is also reflected in their philosophy. Customers are king and they have to be satisfied. That's why they worked closely with athletes early on in the development phase. In the meantime, the Austrian mountain rescue team is also equipped with Zanier gloves and always gives input in product development, because "especially the mountain rescue team knows what you need on the mountain!" Production has always been "fair" as well. "We have always worked only with companies and factories that produce fairly. I have always personally visited the factories and strictly checked the working conditions. This makes production more expensive, but I could not otherwise stand honestly behind the products."

A humpy slope.

In 50 years, of course, there were also ups and downs. In the winters of 89/90 and 90/91, little snow fell in Tyrol. "Snow cannons didn't exist yet and so we had full warehouses and almost no sales. Two bad winters in a row were tough for us," he recalls. Nevertheless, there were no doubts about the project. The following winters were "white" again and things were getting better.

With innovation to success.

“I never thought we’d be so successful someday,” Werner says modestly. “We have always tried to be one step ahead and differentiate ourselves from other manufacturers. ” In 1999, Zanier was the first company to introduce a heated glove to the market. Almost three years of tinkering, the right batteries were finally found “at your own doorstep”, at an Austrian company. Another highlight was the first gloves with GPS technology. Customers also like this spirit of innovation, because the brand experiences a soaring flight.

A new chapter.

For more than ten years now, son Markus has been managing the company in the second generation. Werner already feels a little melancholy. "Of course, it wasn't easy to hand over full responsibility at the beginning, after all Gabi and I built it all up from scratch. But Markus does it incredibly well and that makes me very proud." However, Werner no longer went through with the move from East Tyrol to Innsbruck. "You don't move an old tree," he laughs. For Zanier, the move to the "Heart of the Alps" was nevertheless the right decision.

To the next 50 years.

The market is not getting easier, but more and more difficult, but "Markus will do it and the success so far has always proven us right," Werner says confidently. "I'm excited to see what Markus will come up with in the next 50 years!

We are also already excited about where the next few years will take us. Thank you very much for your commitment and the interview Werner!

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