The History of Skiing in Austria

    Skiing used to be a cumbersome way of getting around. Today, it’s one of the most passion-filled experiences. In the success story of alpine skiing Austria plays a leading role.

    The Austrian School of Skiing

    The history of skiing begins with a famous name: Mathias Zdarsky. In the early 20th century, this Austrian pioneer became the first person to sail down steep mountain slopes on wooden planks. He used a long pole to change direction. It wasn’t long before the first ski races were being held - downhill, uphill, and across flat terrain. Several years later, another ground-breaking revolution occurred: Hannes Schneider and Toni Seelos developed the stem turn and the parallel turn. This is when Alpine skiing really took off: countless ski schools were founded, including the very first Skiing Academy (set up by Hannes Schneider himself) in St. Anton am Arlberg.

    Austria quickly became the new Alpine Ski Circuit. The “Austrian Way of Skiing” even spread as far as Japan and the USA – and was revolutionized again in the 1950s when a sports teacher named Stephan Kruckenhauser developed the “wedel” technique. This allows skiers to sail down the slopes with short elegant turns in which their feet are kept close together. But that’s all history now: The most widespread skiing technique today is carving, which involves making wide turns on the edges of your skis.

    Austrian Ski Instructors – A mark of quality

    The Austrian school of skiing and its techniques are internationally respected, not least because of Austrian ski instructors - both male and female. In their red anoraks they have been a symbol of quality for decades. Their professionalism and talent for teaching the art of skiing with humour, charm, and composure makes them popular with pro ski racers and visitors alike! 

    From Small Mountain Villages to Lively Winter Resorts

    Many international skiing superstars come from what were originally simple mountain villages. They've since grown into winter sports resorts with all imaginable amenities. Nevertheless, the villages have retained their original charm – and what is known even in English as their Gemütlichkeit: The pleasure of relaxing with friends, enjoying yourself, and appreciating the finer things in life.