• Ernest Hemingway mit Freunden / Montafon

    Hemingway and Fleming: Finding Inspiration in the Wintry Alps

    The wintry Alps as a source of inspiration for world-class literature: Find out what the famous authors Ernest Hemingway and Ian Fleming experienced in Austria’s Alpine regions and how they incorporated it into their work.

    Hotel "Taube" in Schruns / Schruns, Montafon

    Ernest Hemingway and Ian Fleming in the Snow

    Tirol and Vorarlberg Attract Literary Greats

    In the roaring 20s, two world-famous writers discovered the joys of winter in Austria: While James-Bond-author Ian Fleming enjoyed himself in the posh village of Kitzbühel, Ernest Hemingway sought happiness amid the deep snowdrifts of the Montafon valley.

    At a time when winter tourism in Austria was still in its infancy, only a few brave adventurers found their way to the Austrian Alps. One of them was Ernest Hemingway. Together with his first wife Hadley and a few artist friends, the American author spent the winters of 1924/25 and 1925/26 in Schruns in Vorarlberg’s Montafon. The guests from overseas stayed at the Hotel Taube, a traditional inn that still exists today. 

    • For Hemingway, these two winters meant discovering his love for Alpine adventures. With his friend John Dos Passos and the ski instructor Walther Lent, he went on ski tours in the Silvretta mountain range and completed quite a few daredevil runs. At least that is what it says in his memoir “A Moveable Feast“.

      Loneliness in the Silvretta. In Schruns, people can still tell you where and how Hemingway spent his time here. A favourite destination of his was the Bieler Höhe, which could be reached via the Madlenerhaus. Back then, it was a difficult endeavour - with leather shoes, simple bindings, wooden skis and seal skins. Today, a comfortable gondola ride takes visitors to the Madlenerhaus. The journey continues via Tunneltaxi, through a rustic tunnel to the Bieler Höhe, where the seemingly endless expanse and wintry-white magnificence of the Silvretta awaits.

    • Those who seek the stillness and solitude that attracted the legendary author still embark on ski tours there. There are also other picturesque, but less lofty, options such as the cross-country ski runs around the Madlenerhaus. 

      Good old Hemingway was not only sporty but, as we know, a man who liked to live fully. Consequently, his stay in the Montafon also included more than one boisterous evening and card game with local hunters, farmers and barons. In Schruns he also completed his novel “Fiesta,” a book which would soon bring him worldwide fame. Equally impactful was his meeting with the Mannequin Pauline Pfeiffer. The fact that the millionaire’s daughter lived in the same hotel as himself and his wife Hadley did not keep him from starting a passionate affair: Only one year later, Pauline became Hemingway’s second wife.

    Ernest Hemingway im Posthotel "Rössle" in Gaschurn / Gaschurn

    Ernest-Hemingway-Exhibtion in Gaschurn

    At a small Hemingway Exhibition in the building that also houses the Gaschurn Visitor Centre, one can learn more about the famous American’s stay in the Montafon through photographs, reports and a tv-documentary. 

    Once there, make sure you stop at the vicarage of vicar Joe Egle to sample some of his famous healing liqueurs and spirits. They would certainly have been to the taste of (atheist) Ernest Hemingway. 

    More information

    „I remember all the varieties of snow created by the wind, as well as the different challenges they posed for skiing. Then, when staying in one of the high-altitude Alpine huts, there were the snowstorms, which created an alien world through which we had to forge a path as carefully as if we had never seen the land before.” 

    From „A Moveable Feast“ by Ernest Hemingway

    • media_content.tooltip.skipped
    •                         007 Elements
    • media_content.tooltip.skipped
    Ian Fleming / Mono Print

    Amorous Adventures in the Alps à la James Bond

    007 on Ski Tour in Kitzbühel

    A different world-famous writer spent several amorous winters in Austria: Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, stayed in Kitzbühel from 1927 to 1930. At the time, the young Briton still had a long way to go until he became a celebrated cult author. Alcohol excesses and womanizing were habits that had him expelled from several top English boarding schools.

    As a last resort, his parents sent him to a private school in Kitzbühel. As soon as he arrived in the Alpine town, the 19-year-old fell in love with the waitress Lisl Popper. How much Lisl could teach the dissipated Briton about relationships remains anyone's guess. The fact remains that she introduced him to the local ski instructors who took him on tours to the Kitzbüheler Horn, at 2000 metres the most beloved of the local mountains. 

    • Everything began in Kitzbühel. „They say that Ian Fleming was an excellent skier,“ says Michael „Gugu“ Tyszkiewicz, who closely studied the time the 007-inventor spent in Kitzbühel. Tyszkiewicz came across the story of Fleming’s Kitzbühel phase while working at the Hotel Tennerhof. In the 1920s, the building housed the Alfred-Adler-Privatschule, the very school that Fleming attended.

    • The school's principal was also an MI6 agent while his wife, who also taught at the school, wrote novels and short stories. It is said to be the influence of these teachers that sparked the creation of Fleming’s James Bond. Ian Fleming definitely never forgot his time in Kitzbühel.

    • Inspired by his research on Ian Fleming, Gugu Tyszkiewicz initiated an annual ski challenge as a homage to the Bond author: Fireball Kitz. The ski race, which is also open for children, is not just about speed. Vintage outfits and Bond-style gadgets are what makes this race special.

    I am convinced that the many ski scenes in the James Bond books and movies were inspired by Ian Fleming's time in Kitzbühel.

    Skiwanderer in einsamen Bergwelt
    Gugu Gugu Tyszkiewicz, Ian-Fleming-Insider

    Check out these Winter Culture Stories

    •                 Iced trees at the lakeside in Maurach

      A Raucous Christmas: Winter Traditions in Austria

      From the Krampus to Blossoming “Barbara Branches” – in Austria, many mystical traditions are still celebrated between Christmas and the New Year.

      Rauhnacht Traditions in Austria
    •                 Skier, Alfons Walde

      Kitzbühel and the Painter of Snow

      This year, Kitzbühel celebrates its 750th birthday. The town renowned for winter sports and spectacular downhill runs is also associated with artist Alfons Walde, the Painter of Snow.

      Read more
    •                 Thomasnacht

      Winter in Fine Arts: The Colour of Snow

      The depictions of snow and ice in the masterpieces of artists such as Werner Berg, Pieter Bruegel or Egon Schiele are impressive to behold. The colours range from mystical grey and blue hues to turquoise pastels.

      Winter in the Fine Arts
    •                 Penguin Snow Globe

      Mother Holle in a Snow Globe

      The snow globe, beloved throughout the world, was invented in Austria. We say hello to the family Perzy and their Snowglobemanufacture.

      The Viennese Snow Globe
    •                 Winter landscape on the Schöckl in Styria

      Adalbert Stifter and Peter Rosegger: Literature between Snow and Ice

      Adalbert Stifter and Peter Rosegger’s stories focus on people experiencing the beauty and the challenges of winter in the Alps.

    •                 Leopold Mozart (father of W. A. Mozart) / Historical Museum of Vienna

      Winter Themes in Classical Music: Music for Long Evenings

      Winter found its way into Classical Music when Austrian composers such as Leopold Mozart, Schubert and Strauss chose it as a theme of their compositions.

      Classical Winter Music