5 Times Austrians Changed Skiing Forever
In Austria's Alps, skiing is a way of life. Sports, industry, and cultural events revolve around perfect powdery slopes.
1 Five of the world’s top ski manufacturers are Austrian
The world’s first ski company was Austrian - synthetic ski pioneer Kneissl has produced skis in Tirol since 1861. Many of today’s leading ski brands are also from Austria: Atomic, Fischer, and Blizzard are the top picks of professionals and passionate amateur skiers around the world. During the Sochi Winter Olympics, Fischer skis alone earned 108 medals.
2. Austria is home to the world’s leading ski lift maker
If getting up the mountain is a great experience in itself, you have Doppelmayr to thank. Starting in the 20th century, the Vorarlberg-based manufacturer has pioneered the world’s most advanced aerial lifts. They built the first 6-person detachable chairlift (allowing you to get on at low speeds in the station), the first heated chairlift, and the first rotating gondola. There are Doppelmeyr lifts and cable cars in 90 countries around the globe - and in almost every Tirolean ski resort.
3. Austrians invented ski passes
Or at least the electronic passes we carry around today. Salzburgian company SKIDATA was the first to give skiers slope access through an electronic system. This technology laid the groundwork for digital ticketing, which is now standard in any major ski resort. SKIDATA also introduced the first hands-free ski ticket, which made life easer for winter sports enthusiasts around the world. Austrian company Axess, a fierce competitor, installed electronic ticketing at major US resorts like Alta and Mammoth Mountain.
4. Austrians set records in professional skiing
There is a saying that in Austria, children learn to ski before they learn to walk. While we can’t confirm that this is true, there seems to be something about growing up near Austria’s mountains that makes for exceptional skiers. Austria holds the record for the country with most Alpine Skiing World Cup wins of all time (32). Salzburg natives Annemarie Moser-Pröll and Marcel Hirscher hold the most World Cup titles in their respective gender group. Austrian legend Franz Klammer made sports history as the world’s most successful downhill skier.
5. An Austrian invented modern skiing
Hannes Schneider, a young skiing instructor from St. Anton am Arlberg, came up with the skiing technique we use today. For centuries, people used to ski by going straight down the slope in the Telemark style. Schneider was the first to use horizontal swings to control his descent. The result was a more elegant and accessible technique that took the world by storm: Schneider ventured out from his remote village and became an international skiing superstar, but always returned to the pristine mountains of Tirol.