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Skischule Arlberg
The complete provider in terms of snow sports in St. Anton am Arlberg!

Ski School since 1921

A Century of Ski School Arlberg

In 1902 - ski lessons took place on the slopes of St. Anton and St. Christoph for the first time.
1907 – Hannes Schneider took care of the hotel guests in the village. From as early as the winter of 1908/09, weekly ski courses took place from January 1st in St. Christoph and St. Anton.

In 1911 Hannes Schneider had to go to the artillery regiment "Kaiser" No. 14, but he was allowed to return to the Arlberg at the end of the year. During the First World War he was assigned, among other things, to a mountain guide company where he held ski courses as an instruction officer. He survived the war without serious injuries, and after his return to civilian life on 8th November, 1918 he was able to work as a ski instructor again.

The official start of the Arlberg Ski School was in 1921 – hence our motto:  "Ski School Arlberg – The Ski School with Tradition".

At this point in time, Hannes Schneider set another milestone in the history of skiing. He founded a ski school in St. Anton am Arlberg, where the students were divided into different groups according to their ability and were taught by trained ski instructors according to established guidelines.

Hannes Schneider Skikurse St. Anton am Arlberg

Hannes Schneider, together with others, created the theoretical foundations for ski lessons. One friend and companion was Rudolf Gomperz. Together with the hotelier Carl Schuler, he was an early sponsor of Hannes Schneider. As a publicist and organiser, he supported Hannes Schneider's rise for over 30 years and jointly developed the Arlberg technique as well as the formation of the Deutsche Arlberg – Courses – Schneider. 

The first ski guide for the Arlberg area and the Verwall Group was published in 1927 for the growing number of tourists. Gomperz was the author of Hannes Schneider's book "Auf Schi in Japan" as well as many other publications.

Skischule Arlberg

Hannes Schneider – Arlberg technique

Hannes Schneider – Arlberg technique

The fact that St. Anton quickly became known in skiing circles also played a key role in the ski feature films by Arnold Fanck which were shot in the Arlberg in the early 20s and early 30s using the best skiers. Through these films, hundreds of thousands of people were inspired by skiing and the name Hannes Schneider became world-famous.

Schneider starred in fifteen of the ski films that were very popular at the time, including the Wunder des Schneeschuhs (1919/20) and the film classic "Der weiße Rausch" (1930/31) by Dr. Arnold Fanck. Schneider's reputation had meanwhile penetrated as far as Japan. On February 24th, 1930, he began the long journey by train. At almost every stop on his trip to Japan he gave lectures and seminars and explained his Arlberg technique.

On March 13th, 1938, Schneider was arrested by the National Socialists for political reasons and taken to prison in Landeck. After the annexation of Austria, he had repeatedly spoken out publicly against the Nazi regime and its methods and had stood by his Jewish friends such as Rudolf Gomperz. In his ski school he protested against any Nazi slogans and ideologies, and he also dismissed a ski instructor who carried out Nazi propaganda. He also refused to teach only Aryans in his ski school. Due to international pressure and not least because of the efforts of Arnold Lunn, he was released on 10th April, 1938.

Hannes Schneider, Leni Riefenstahl und Rudi Matt

However, his ski instructor's license was revoked; and therefore, he was practically banned from practicing his profession. He emigrated with his family to the United States in January 1939, where he took over a ski school in the state of New Hampshire and created a considerable ski resort on Mount Cranmore in accordance with his concepts.

Hannes Schneiders Ski School in New Hampshire Mount Cranmore

Hannes Schneider Ski School New Hampshire

During World War II, he served as an instructor for the 10th U.S. Mountain Division, where his son Herbert served as a soldier. Schneider continued to expand the ski resort on Mount Cranmore. Despite some trips to his old home on the Arlberg, his residence remained in the United States, where he died of a heart attack at the age of 65.

Hannes Schneiders Ski School/ North Conway, New Hampshire

North Conway Hannes Schneider

Since the 19th century, the Arlberg has been home to numerous ski pioneers.

Traverse with a switchback – this is how the snow slopes used to be mastered. At the beginning of the 20th century, Arlberg ski pioneers such as Hannes Schneider developed the stem turn as a forerunner of the parallel turn. The Arlberg technique revolutionized skiing. Ski instructors from the Ski School Arlberg – there were 36 in number - such as Pfeifer Friedl, Gabl Pepi, Marth Toni, Schweiger Ludwig, Fahrner Karl, Staffler Sepp, Tschol Alfred, Haueis Edi, Nöbl Ferdl and many more taught this style from Japan to America.

Together, they have made St. Anton am Arlberg the cradle of alpine skiing and made the ski area famous beyond the country's borders. It is their courage, their progressive thinking and their innovative strength that mean that "DER ARLBERG" is still making history today.

A Century of Ski School Arlberg

Hannes Schneider

Hannes Schneider

The legendary ski pioneer Hannes Schneider (1890-1955) was born in Stuben. From 1907, at the age of just 17, he was the first ski instructor on the Arlberg and revolutionized the technique of skiing with the "Arlberg School".
In 1921 He founded Austria’s first ski school on the Arlberg – the Ski School Arlberg. Hannes Schneider was also an honorary citizen of the communities of St. Anton am Arlberg und North Conway (USA).

Salcher and Eichinger headed the Ski School Arlberg during the harsh war years 1938-1946. 

Rudi Matt

Rudi Matt

After the Second World War, they were replaced by two well-known racers and regular instructors of the ski school.

Matt Rudi (Austrian Nordic and Alpine Skier who became slalom world champion in 1936) and Sepp Fahrner built the ski school system in St. Anton and St. Christoph from 1946 and led the ski school to new successes until 1974.

Sepp Fahrner

Sepp Fahrner

Unique in the history of the Ski School Arlberg, was that two ski school directors were concession holders. There was even a separate law for this in the Tyrolean state government.

Karl Schranz

Karl Schranz

In 1974, Karl Schranz received the concession from the Tyrolean provincial government to run the Ski School Arlberg.

Karl is one of the most successful and well-known former ski racers in Austria. He became world champion three times and won the overall World Cup twice.

Harald Rofner

Harald Rofner

Rofner Harald ran the Ski School Arlberg from 1986 to 1993. Harald is a former Austrian alpine skier. He was twice Austrian champion in slalom and took three podiums in the Ski World Cup.

In 1973 Harald ended his career with the amateurs and he moved to the professional races in the USA, in which he participated until 1975.

Richard Walter

Richard Walter

Richard Walter has been Head of the Ski School Arlberg since 1993, as well as President of the Tyrolean Ski Instructors Association since November 1998, President of the Austrian Ski School Association since October 2003 and President of the European Ski Instructors Association since 2008.

The rapid development in tourism did not stop at the Ski School Arlberg. During the high season, the ski school now employs almost 400 local and internationally certified snow sports instructors.

The development of winter sports in general and in ski teaching in particular has shown in recent years that the needs of ski school guests are increasingly tending towards a wide range of winter sports. These developments are very positive for snow sports and winter tourism and a positive factor for more added value and more employment in Austrian ski schools.

Today we are a COMPLETE PROVIDER in terms of snow sports - whether skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, telemark, on-piste and off-piste guiding, private lessons, children's lessons, children's restaurants, adventure worlds, kindergarten, no handicap etc.

We pay particular attention to the topic of snow sports instructors as service providers. Our focus here is on emotional and social competence. Our goal = the satisfied guest!
We accept future challenges and will continue to work with a great deal of motivation and idealism.

Our motto:

Patrick Bätz

Bätz Patrick – Snow sports instructor at the Ski School Arlberg and trainer with the state ski instructor programme