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Das Wunder in Weiß
Staubende Abfahrt im Zürser Pulver ©Stadtarchiv Bregenz: Zwischen Arlberg und Bodensee. (o. J.) [Werbebroschüre]. Dornbirn.

Lech & Zürs

Das Wunder in Weiß

Interview mit Birgit Heinrich vom Lechmuseum

Skifahren und Arlberg – das eine ohne das andere? Undenkbar! Vor 120 Jahren sausten die ersten Pioniere die Piste hinab und zogen eine Spur, die bis in die heutige Zeit reicht. Damals wie heute ist das Lebensgefühl „Ski“ tief in der Arlbergregion verwurzelt und nun Thema einer umfangreichen Ausstellung im Huber-Hus in Lech. La Loupe machte sich mit Birgit Heinrich vom Lechmuseum auf Spurensuche.

„Wer die Ausstellung verlässt, wird merken, dass es die Ski gar nicht braucht, um die Skikultur darzustellen.“

L.L./ The exhibition “SPUREN – Die Ausstellung zur Skikultur” (= “TRACES. The exhibition on skiing culture.”) shows no skis, sticks, or bindings – which is a bit unusual for an exhibition on skiing culture. How do you communicate that “skiing spirit” in the exhibition?

B.H./ All those who leave the exhibit realise that you don’t need skis to depict skiing culture. Because it really is more about an attitude to life and not so much about the technical details of the pieces of equipment. SPUREN talks about how skiing has become a cult phenomenon and come to occupy many different spheres in society and our lives. Whether you head to the “Hörbar” (= music bar) and listen to après ski music or whether you leaf through old guest books – everywhere you’ll see that it’s not about worshiping the pioneers but about following the traces of a phenomenon that has made it into the everyday life of every single person on the Arlberg.

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Die Zimmermann-Schwestern auf dem Weg zur Trittalm, 1955 ©Sammlung Edith und Heidi Zimmermann, Bregenz
„Das Öffnen eines Koffers hat sich fast angefühlt wie eine kleine Zeitreise.“

L.L./ Since June 24, 2018 guests of Huber-Hus get to go on a journey back in time – all the way to the origins of skiing on the Arlberg. Where did the idea for the current exhibition come from?

B.H./ he idea for the exhibition came from the book “Spuren. Skikultur am Arlberg” which was created on behalf of the association ski.kultur.arlberg. In 2018 the association celebrated its 10-year anniversary and that’s how the collaboration of Lechmuseum and the association ski.kultur.arlberg came about – I think it’s a wonderful thing to celebrate that anniversary with an exhibition. Alongside my two colleagues Monika Gärtner and Sabine Maghörndl and myself one of the book’s authors, Bernhard Tschofen from the University of Zurich, also played a vital role in the exhibition’s conceptualisation.

„Wer sich mit der eigenen Vergangenheit beschäftigt, kann die Gegenwart besser verstehen und beurteilen.“

L.L./ Old ski goggles, talismans, and family photos – where do the exhibits come from?

B.H./ The list of lenders is long. Some of the exhibits come from our own collection, from the Lech museum association and the ski.kultur.arlberg association. Aside from that other museums like the Hohenems Jewish Museum or the Mürzzugschlag Winter Sports Museum also lent us exhibits. The trickiest part was getting exhibits from private people. But they usually are a huge asset because they come with personal stories that would never become public otherwise. Which is why we are, for example, showing a sled from Raimund Bischof who lives in Oberlech which he actually decided to donate to the museum. For as long as the exhibition is open all visitors are welcome to bring their own mementos along. We are trying to reach Lech’s guests here, in particular.

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©Gemeindearchiv Lech
„Skifahren am Arlberg hat Tradition, nicht nur in dem Sinne, dass man hier schon lange Ski fährt, sondern hier am Arlberg der moderne alpine Skilauf sehr wesentlich geprägt wurde.“

L.L./ You must have come across numerous stories in the course of your research. Is there a story that you remember in particular?

B.H./ When we designed the exhibition we really weren’t aiming to highlight any one particular person, but still – the story of St. Anton’s tourism pioneer Rudolf Gomperz has stayed with me. He played an important role in making the entire Arlberg region well-known and he was murdered in concentration camp in 1942. But there also are individual exhibits that can really capture you. I am still fascinated by a packed suitcase. It’s the suitcase of a Brazilian guest of Hotel Edelweiß in Zürs which was left behind in the hotel’s luggage room in the 1970s and never picked up. When we opened it, it felt like a journey back in time and it was incredibly exciting to find out what a guest of the Arlberg had packed about 40 years ago. The obligatory sealskin shoes were in there, of course.

„Es sind eben die vielen Spuren, die der Skilauf mit all seinen Facetten in Lech hinterlassen hat und immer noch hinterlässt.“

L.L./ Why do you think it’s important to preserve the region’s history for posterity?

B.H./ If you deal with your own past it’s easier to understand and evaluate the present. Of course, it’s important to know one’s own roots and know where you come from. The scientific processing of history is not just necessary to make sure we don’t fall prey to myths but also to find out what exactly lies behind that frequently advertised idea of the cradle of alpine skiing.

L.L./ Skiing is more than just a sport, it’s an attitude towards life. How would you describe that attitude?

B.H./ I think the best way to find an answer to that question is to go and see the SPUREN exhibition. Until the end of April 2019 everyone can come and see for themselves how we tried to describe that attitude and that spirit via that medium of an exhibition. And for the time after there’s always the book.

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Skijöring um 1900 ©Sammlung Franz Karl und Thomas Eggler, Bludenz

L.L./ Skiing and Lech – the two simply belong together. What would you say makes winter sports on the Arlberg so attractive?

B.H./ Skiing on the Arlberg has tradition, not just in the sense that people have been doing it for a long time but also in the sense that modern alpine skiing was strongly influenced by the Arlberg. And not just that – the culture of hospitality on the Arlberg has also been cultivated on an extremely high level, après ski has always been part of the package, and all the know-how behind skiing has been developed in the “lab” that is the Arlberg. So, there are many traces that skiing in all its facets has left in Lech – and it still does.

Infobox: Die Arlberger Skikultur

Seit dem 19. Jahrhundert ist das Skifahren untrennbar mit der Arlbergregion verbunden. In der „Wiege des alpinen Skilaufs“ wurden Ski und Skitechnik erstmalig nicht nur als Fortbewegungsmittel angesehen, sondern als Freizeitaktivität. Dabei ist der Skilauf nicht nur Sport, sondern auch Auslöser eines eigenen Tourismus, der Menschen aus aller Welt in den Bann zieht und aus dem sich ein eigener Lifestyle entwickelt hat. Angefangen von den ersten Skibergsteigern, über legendäre Skischulen, eine eigene Fahrtechnik, bekannte Skifilme bis hin zu mondänem Après-Ski und angesagten Schneebars.

Langsam aber sicher dehnte sich der Begriff „Arlberg“, der früher lediglich Name eines Passes war, auf die gesamte Region aus und wird heute als Synonym für den alpinen Skilauf gebraucht. Ein Skilauf, der auch 120 Jahre später seinesgleichen sucht.

Das Interview mit Robert Strolz von ski.kultur.arlberg finden Sie hier.

Museum Huber-Hus

Die Ausstellung zur Skikultur

Lechmuseum und Verein ski.kultur.arlberg

Dorf 26, 6764 Lech am Arlberg

+43 5583 / 2213 240

museum@gemeinde.lech.at

www.lechmuseum.at

www.skikulturarlberg.at

Öffnungszeiten:

24. Juni 2018 bis 28. April 2019

Di, Do, So 15 – 18 Uhr, Führungen nach Voranmeldung


Bernhard Tschofen und Gustav Schoder gaben außerdem einen Katalog zur Ausstellung heraus.


Lech & Zürs

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