History of the Obergurgl Ski School

The ski school in the Ötztal with tradition and quality since 1922

It is easy to imagine that the Obergurgl Ski School has had a lot of experience and learned a great deal about all facets of Alpine skiing over its long history. Beginning with ‘prehistoric’ wooden skis and no climbing assistance up to state-of-the-art coupled transport systems and highly sophisticated ski equipment. We are still keeping pace even today and teach state-of-the-art skiing techniques and trend sports, such as cross-country skiing, telemark and mono ski.

The beginnings date back to 1922 when Angelus Scheiber – one of the greatest pioneers of tourism in the Ötztal – founded the Obergurgl Ski School. This makes it one of the oldest ski schools in Austria. Hans Falkner took over the management from Angelus Scheiber. He was the one who established the close contact with the English guests back then. Tourism in Obergurgl still reaps great benefits from this today.

The continuous evolution into a popular ski resort

After the Second World War, ski sports experienced a continuous boom which started in Obergurgl. At this point, Hugo Gstrein – who died in September 1949 – was entrusted with managing the ski school. His brother, Josl Gstrein, took over the fortunes of the ski school and ran it until 1961. Karl Giacomelli then assumed the reins, passing management of the ski school to his son Thomas Giacomelli from 1993 to 2010. He was followed by Andrä Aste, who took over management in the winter season of 2010/11 and who is still the ski school manager to this day.

The most famous Obergurgl Ski School instructors

Among the many ski instructors who have worked at the ski school, several have been world-class sportsmen, especially in the earlier years. We are only mentioning the two best known. One was Eberhard Kneissl, who was still employed in Obergurgl at the time and later taught in Sölden. In his day, he won countless international races and in 1947/48 was even a member of the Olympic team. The second was Josl Gstrein, he was by far the best in the quadruple combination (ski jump, cross-country skiing, downhill, slalom) in Austria and also a member of the 1947/48 Olympic squad.

The modern Obergurgl Ski School

The modern ski school, that is to say, today’s Obergurgl Ski School, currently has a permanent staff of some 100 snow sports instructors. During the holiday season, we employ even more instructors. We usually start operations in mid-November and close by the beginning of May. Thanks to its extreme altitude, the Obergurgl-Hochgurgl ski region can expect excellent snow conditions long after Easter. Flexibility and quality are key features in the Obergurgl Ski School’s daily programme. We only employ the best qualified and committed instructors. We want our guests to return home not just satisfied but delighted. Exciting highlights, such as the weekly ski show on the Festkogl and our current anniversary celebrations help us to achieve this – and it won’t be long before we are celebrating our 100th anniversary in 2022.