The history of the Arlberg

The history of Arlberg abounds in pioneering spirit. It was the passion and unabated innovative force of some unforgotten pioneers that made the world-famous ski resort what it is today: the cradle of Alpine skiing. 

The cradle of Alpine skiing

The foundation for this was laid at the end of the 19th century – with the opening of the Arlberg railway tunnel, which brought the first guests to the region. Over the years, Ski Arlberg has become the largest connected ski resort in Austria, one of the most important locations in the history of Alpine skiing, and the epicentre of the ski sport.

Milestones in the history of skiing


The Arlberg tunnel brings the first guests to the region.

Emperor Franz Joseph I inaugurates the Arlberg railway tunnel. The train connection from Bludenz in Vorarlberg via Langen am Arlberg to Landeck in Tyrol brought the first guests to the Arlberg region.


A pioneer is born.

Johann (Hannes) Schneider is born in Stuben – later, he went down in history as a gifted ski racing champion and inventor of the "Arlberg technique". He begins his career as a ski instructor in St. Anton and, later, becomes the founder and managing director of the ski school there. 


The first pair of skis on Arlberg      

A small step for Father Müller from Warth – and a big step for the history of skiing: In 1894, the priest brings the first pair of skis to the western Arlberg to make his commute between Warth and Lech a lot easier.


The hour of birth of the Ski Club Arlberg

Six friends, one project: "Ski Club Arlberg" is founded at Hotel Hospiz in St. Christoph. 


On your marks, get set, go!

On 5 June 1904, the time has finally come: The first ski race is held on Arlberg – still without ski lifts or groomed ski runs! 


The first skiing lessons

Learning from a professional: Viktor Sohm teaches the first ski lessons in Zürs. Initially, only locals take part but, from the early 1920s on, guests participate as well.


Ski School

The first ski school opens its doors – founded by Hannes Schneider in St. Anton am Arlberg.


The first tow lift

Premiere for Austria's first tow lift in Zürs. Three years later, the first ski lift in Lech follows.


Summit ascents by cable car

Galzigbahn in St. Anton is the first cable car in the world designed exclusively for winter operation. It has a transport capacity of up to 120 people per hour.


Austria's highest cable car

The new Vallugabahn transports winter sports enthusiasts up to an elevation of 2,811 metres above sea level, which makes it Austria's highest cable car at the time. 


The world’s first heated chairlifts

The world's first heated chairlifts in Lech and Schröcken provide more comfort for winter sports enthusiasts.


A revolution in cable car construction    

For the funitel system of the new Galzigbahn, the cabins are connected to a pair of two parallel overhead cables. This enables passengers to board and exit them level with the ground.


A new connection      

A further milestone is the connection of Lech Zürs with Warth-Schröcken via the Auenfeldjet cable car.


Inauguration of the Flexenbahn

The construction of the Flexenbahn connects Zürs with Rauz/Stuben and makes Ski Arlberg the largest connected ski resort in Austria.