Matthias Lötscher was well on his way to becoming a professional athlete when he suffered an accident while ski jumping. His life came to a standstill – but only briefly. Since then, the lawyer has wondered how he can realise his urge to get moving while in a wheelchair.
When Matthias Lötscher talks about his childhood, it is best to close your eyes. You will see him strapping on his cross-country skis early in the morning as a child. How his warm breath creates a cloud of vapour in the beaming light of the headlamp, and how it illuminates the trail in front of him later on. You hear the snow crunching under his skis as he flies down the ski jump, before sailing into the valley.
Lötscher’s childhood is like something out of a film. This one is set in the farthest corner of Switzerland’s Entlebuch municipality, in Marbach. The small village has cross-country ski trails, a gondola lift, several ski lifts and two small ski jumps. There were years in the nineties when Marbach was the source of almost the entire Swiss national cross-country team. Lötscher fitted in perfectly there: he felt this urge within himself, he was always on the move, outdoors in nature is where he feels most comfortable. And at some point he, too, would be part of the Junior National Nordic Combined Squad.
Fifty kilometres or more in one day are well within reach. As are fast-paced downhill runs.
Lötscher’s film also embraces slow motion, and even a brief moment of standstill. Lötscher was 18 years old when he fell during ski jumping training. Since then, he has been a quadriplegic. His film quickly picks up speed again.
The urge to move has remained. Matthias Lötscher played wheelchair rugby intensively when he studied law, but now only on an irregular basis. During the Coronavirus pandemic, the 36-year-old discovered something better than a home-based office: the “Heimat” office. He returned to his parents’ house in Marbach during lockdown, spending a lot of time with friends in nature. Later, he bought a mountain bike. It is the perfect balance to work, to long days at the computer.
With his bike, he says, he can get almost anywhere; a small path is enough for him to get through. Especially since even the smallest alpine pasture in Switzerland has been developed. The bike is a recumbent bike, two wheels at the back, one at the front, and an electric motor supports the arms when pedalling. This allows for “quite extreme tours”, says Lötscher, which he undertakes together with friends. Fifty kilometres or more in one day is more than possible. Fast-paced downhill runs, too. The bike trail in Marbach is the only one he has yet to master without crashing.
has worked at Walder Wyss in Zurich since 2015. He is a managing associate in the Banking & Finance team, and specialises in financial markets law, including issues pertaining to money laundering regulation. At 18, he had an accident while ski jumping and has been a quadriplegic ever since.