The Ski Club Arlberg is one of the oldest and well-known ski clubs in the Alps. Established on the 3rd of January 1901, the SCA with its 7,926 members from 61 countries is currently the largest ski club in Europe. Many World Champions and Olympic champions have emerged from this most traditional of clubs. And in the course if its long history, the Ski Club Arlberg has also profoundly influenced both alpine ski sports and tourism in the Arlberg region.
Prominent members - Pioneers and Legends
Alongside Princess Caroline of Monaco, Prince Ernst-August of Hannover and the many other prominent personalities in the Ski Club Arlberg's list of members, are the names of a number of legendary skiers, such as Hannes Schneider.
Hannes Schneider, one of skiing’s greats in the 20s and 30s, began his career at the age of 13 when he was given his first pair of skis. Schneider went on to develop a new downhill skiing technique. When he was just 17 years of age, he worked as the first permanent ski instructor in the region and in December 1921 he established the first ski school in St. Anton am Arlberg. Later he made a name for himself as an author and actor. In addition to Hannes Schneider, many other personalities have influenced the history of the Ski Club Arlberg.
At the 1948 Olympic Games in St. Moritz, Trude Jochum-Beiser won gold in the combination and silver in the downhill and thus became the first female ski racer to win two medals at the Olympic Games. In addition, she won gold in the downhill at the 1952 Olympic Games in Oslo and gold in the downhill at the World Championships in Aspen in 1950.
Othmar Schneider was one of the stars of the Winter Olympic Games held in Oslo in 1952 . Representing the Ski Club Arlberg, Schneider achieved a unique position not only within the history of the Ski Club Arlberg, but also in Austrian history. As a result of Schneider’s victory in the slalom, Austria celebrated its first alpine gold medal in a men's event at the Olympics. Othmar Schneider, the ski star from Lech, also came second in the downhill. As a result of Schneider’s success and popularity, he was voted Austrian Athlete of the Year in 1952.
Between 1957 and 1973, Karl Schranz from St. Anton am Arlberg, won 8 World Cup downhill races and 5 combination titles. He also came under the top three in three giant slalom races. Karl Schranz was World Champion no less than three times: once in each of the disciplines of downhill, combination and giant slalom and he won the overall World Cup twice. A unique event in the history of the World Cup occurred in the winter of 1968-9, when the men’s and women’s overall World Cup titles were won by Karl Schranz and Gertrud Gabl respectively, both representing the Ski Club Arlberg.
Patrick Ortlieb was downhill Olympic champion in 1992 and downhill World Champion in 1996. He is one of only 5 ski racers who have won both the gold medal in the downhill at the Olympics and the downhill World Championship title. In addition, he won four World Cup races.
At the 2001 World Championships held in St. Anton am Arlberg, a local member of the Ski Club Arlberg won his first World Championship title in slalom: Mario Matt from Flirsch am Arlberg, also known as ‘Super Mario’ or the 'Eagle from the Arlberg’. Mario won the race using a carving technique that was new at the time. Six years later, Mario once again won gold for the Ski Club Arlberg in the World Championships in Aare in both the slalom and team events. In the Olympic Games of 2014 in Sochi, (Russia) Mario Matt won the gold medal in slalom. He is the most successful member of the Ski Club Arlberg.
In the past club year 2013-2014, 562 new members joined the SCA at the various Stammtische and other club meetings, bringing the total number of club members up to 7,926 (as of the 1st of August 2014). Thus membership is up by 219 members from last year’s total of 7,707 members.
The Ski Club Arlberg is particularly proud of the fact that club members originate from some 61 nations. The fact that the SCA has so many members is only made possible by the village representatives, managing committee members and friends of the Ski Club Arlberg, all of whom actively encourage new members.
“Delighted by nature, enthusiastic about sport and convinced of the necessity to create a suitable meeting place at the Arlberg for the friends of this noble pleasure, we, the members of this impromptu excursion, feel moved to establish the Ski Club Arlberg!’