More than a century ago Sport & Mode Strolz laid the foundation for a unique success story right here in Lech.
In 1921 Ambros Strolz senior made the world’s first ski boot in his shoe workshop. Today the store Sport- und Modehaus Strolz in Lech am Arlberg – family run in the fourth generation – is one of the leading businesses in the area of ski gear and a renowned sports and fashion retailer with an excellent reputation even beyond the borders of Vorarlberg. One more reason to fittingly celebrate this impressive anniversary!
The region Lech am Arlberg is the cradle of alpine skiing. Small wonder that the development of modern ski boots should have begun here, too, more than 100 years ago. It was the shoemaker Ambros Strolz senior who hand-crafted the first leather skiing and mountaineering boots in his shoe workshop for the pioneers of winter sports. He thus set the foundation for the Strolz business. As a ski racer one of the company founder’s sons – Martin Strolz – competed in the 1954 ski World Championship in Åre, Sweden, where he crowned himself downhill vice world champion in ski boots made by his family’s own company. In the 1960s, Ambros Strolz senior retired and left the family business’ fates to his two sons Ulrich and Martin Strolz. While Martin Strolz, an orthopaedic master shoemaker, followed in his father’s footsteps, his brother Ulrich focused on trading sports and fashion goods, thus expanding the business further.
After the wedding of Herta and Ulrich Strolz, Herta took over the area of fashion procurement and focused on big brands like Bogner, Fusalp, or Hermès. For more than 25 years, Strolz outfitted many international ski teams. Among the clientele were Olympic champions from Vorarlberg Otmar Schneider and Egon Zimmermann. However, Strolz ski boots were by no means meant for racers alone: skiers from all over the world valued the handcrafted boots made from high-quality leather in the business’ own work-shop in Lech. In the 1960s, plastic ski boots entered the market, thus effectively ending the era of leather ski boots. The Strolz brothers recognised the new technology’s advantages and in 1969 they were one of the first to switch from leather to plastic ski boots in the German-speaking world – yet another milestone in the company’s history.
Pioneers in alpine sports and fashion
17 years later – in 1986 – specialisation follows: in the original seat of the Strolz business, right at the centre of Lech, a sports and fashion store is opened. In the course of the restructuring process, the former Strolz guest house is replaced entirely. In the same year, Daniel Strolz – Ulrich Strolz’ son – takes over management of the sports and fashion store in the third generation. His brothers Ambros and Florian were responsible for purchasing and finances. Under their leadership, a number of renovations were carried out in the 1990s, the sales area was expanded, and the store was made even more professional. Additionally, Ambros Strolz successfully brought his own collection of ski wear to market. Pieces from the Snowsilk series with their characteristic patterns are a highlight that stands out. When the store Sporthaus Strolz is expanded towards Hotel Berghof in 2005, the sales area very nearly doubles. Only one year later the renowned “GQ” magazine published by innovative Condé Nast publishers lists Sport- und Modehaus Strolz as one of the 20 best stores worldwide in their fall/winter style edition. An award that will not remain the only one the innovative business receives: Strolz is awarded the Best of the Alps award for extraordinary performance in winter tourism. When the Strolz ski service reopens on completely new premises and the ski rental business is opened, the company once more sets new standards in the area of alpine sports service.
And the story continues
As of 2018, Olivia Strolz is the fourth generation to take up the rudder at the traditional family business Strolz. The founder’s great-granddaughter basically grew up in the store where she used to play between fashion and ski boots even as a child. In the years following her appointment she led the business through the Covid crisis and presented the new tailor-made Strolz ski boot “Strolz x Tecnica” at the start of the 2021/22 winter season. “The past years have not been easy. We used the time to find a new niche for us for the future. We are happy to be able to hit the ground running now. Aside from hip brands and designer items in our fashion store we used the presentation of our new ski boot “Strolz x Tecnica” to go back to our roots in the area of ski boots manufacturing. Individual fitting and the latest technology round off the service”, Olivia Strolz tells us. In the coming winter season guests of the sports and fashion store can expect more highlights like a completely new shoe department or a Bogner anniversary collection – because it definitely is time to celebrate its 101st birthday. Well then, happy birthday!
Sport- und Modehaus Strolz is unique in this world! It’s living history where tradition and innovation determine daily business. The family-run business has been setting benchmarks in the area of alpine sports and fashion clothing for more than 100 years and this legacy lives on in its fourth generation