SCA Member Ernst Falch celebrates his 80 th birthday
On 27 June 2019, SCA member Ernst Falch celebrated his 80th birthday. This native of St. Anton was a successful ski racer and left a noticeable impact on the international skiing scene.
A son of a sawmill owner, Falch grew up in St. Anton. He joined Ski-Club Arlberg at the age of six and was accepted to the squad of the Tyrolean Skiing Federation in the early 1950s. Towards the end of the decade, he managed to secure a spot on the Austrian national squad.
Falch achieved first successes in 1956 when he became Austrian youth champion in the Slalom event and finished second in the combined event. Two years on, he celebrated his first international victory when he won the Giant Slalom of the Coppa Franchetti at Cortina D’Ampezzo. 1959 he finished fourth at the highly prestigious Slalom at the Hahnekamm race in Kitzbühel. However, he severely injured himself later in the season during the downhill race at Chamonix when he crashed into a tree and fractured his pelvis. As a result of his injury, he missed the entire season of 1959/60.
In the winter of 1960/1961, Falch started his successful comeback season. He won the Slalom event of the Vitranc Cup in Kranjska Gora and accomplished two more podiums with a second place at the Morzine Slalom and a third place at the Slalom event in Cortina D’Ampezzo. In 1961/62 Falch won both Slalom and Giant Slalom of the Toni Mark Memorial Race in Zell am See and Saalfelden respectively as well as the Slalom of the Grand Prix in Megève, securing him a spot on the Austrian squad for the Ski World Championships 1962 in Chamonix. In the Slalom event, he finished as the third best Austrian and came in sixth place, even though he approached a gate from the wrong direction during the first run and had to take a few steps up the hill to rectify his mistake. Falch’s best results during the 1962/63 season were his triumph in the Slalom of Spittal an der Drau where he also managed to come in fifth place at the Giant Slalom. Even though he achieved several more results amongst the top five, he was not nominated for the Olympic Winter Games 1964 in Innsbruck after he lost the internal qualification against Mathias Leitner. Ernst Falch celebrated his final victory towards the end of the winter season 1964 at Giant Slalom taking place in Lebanon, before he retired from ski racing at the age of 25.
After his active career as a sportsman, he and his wife opened a hotel in St. Anton am Arlberg. The couple has three children. Their eldest son, who had to have his lower leg removed in 1998, found great success as a disabled athlete competing not only as an Alpine skier, but also in Triathlon and Duathlon.