Please note the current traffic situation
- L200 Bregenzerwald
- B198 Reutte
- L198 Lech
Warth's skiing history begins with the pioneer Pastor Johann Müller, who brought the first skis to Warth in 1894. Another milestone in ski history in Warth came with the founding of the ski school by Otto Fritz in 1926. In 1972 there came the first Olympic bronze medal, by Warth woman Wiltrud Drexel. Somewhat later, Hubert Strolz from Warth, secured gold in the combined events and a silver in the giant slalom at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.
In the foyer at the tourist office in Warth the ’Warth ski history’ exhibition takes you on a journey through time, including the evolution and the development of tourist district of Warth. The exhibition is open daily.
Other historic information and the story of Pastor Müller can also be read in the book ‘Geheimnisse der weißen Kunst – Skigeschichte Warth’ (Secrets of white art - the history of skiing in Warth. The book is available in Warth and Schröcken tourist information office.
Before the settlement of the Walsers, both the Celts and the Rhaeto-Romanic settled in the Alps and certainly one or another of them were based on the Tannberg.
In 1059, Emperor Henry IV gave a large hunting area surrounding the Widderstein to the Bishop of Augsburg to whom the ecclesiastical territory the area belonged until 1816.
The settlement of the Walsers took place between 1280-1300, who came from the western Swiss canton of Valais. The Walsers were leased the land from Swabian landlords for a low natural interest. The Swabian landlords from Rotenberg allowed the Walsers unusual rights and freedoms for the time in order to achieve the cultivation and permanent settlement of the forest and Alpine areas at extreme altitudes. .
The old Walser customs, language and names have been retained to this day in the remote mountain areas. The concessions of self-administration and low jurisdiction were of special significance. The Tannberg Walser court originally comprised the communities of Lech, Warth, Hochkrumbach, Schröcken and Mittelberg and primarily had its headquarters in the main town, Lech. From 1528 to 1563, however, it held proceedings on the Tschirggen in Hochkrumbach as a concession to the demands for independence of Kleinwalsertal. Naturally, close economic and familial ties arose.
In 1451, Archbishop Sigismund of Austria, also called "the Münzreich", conquered the Tannberg by violence. The Walsers lost their old rights and were assigned to be governed by Bregenz. The Walsers did not receive their rights and freedom back until Emperor Maximilian I of Hapsburg restored them in 1500 after the Appenzell Wars.
In 1602, the parish church was constructed by extending an existing chapel. Until that point, the community had been part of Lech parish. Heavy renovation and construction work took place between 1895 and 1897 and the
tower was elevated by 6 m. Lechleiten and Gehren belonged to the Ehrenberg court and Holzgau parish and even earlier to Elbigenalp parish These areas wanted to be part of
Warth parish from the beginning and thus helped to build the first church. They were released from Ehrenberg in 1626. While Gehren and Lechleiten belonged to Warth in ecclesiastical terms, they were still politically allocated to the community of Steeg
Until the completion of Lechtalbundesstraße in 1908, Warth was very remote and its livelihood was sustained exclusively by dairy and cattle farming. There was brisk trade with the Allgäu, especially the community surrounding Oberstdorf until the opening of the Arlberg railway (1884). A large customs house in Lechleiten stills reminds us of this today.
Beginning of tourism
Tourism began soon after the First World War. Pastor Essl - himself a keen sportsman - proved himself of great service in doing so. With the permission of the bishop and the secular
authorities, he opened the guest house "Pfarrhof" in 1924, which he led in an exemplary manner until his departure in 1928. At the time, there was not a single guest house and the activities of the pastor were generally welcomed. On his initiative, Otto Fritz attended a teaching class for ski instructors. This lead to the founding of Warth ski school in 1928 and thus a boom in tourism. The mountain hotel "Biberkopf" opened in mid-1928. The police building was built at the same time. A post office opened in 1933. Until that point, there had only been a postal deposit..
The favourable developments in tourism and the community came to a sudden stop in 1933 when National Socialist Germany introduced the 1,000 Mark restriction against Austria, which practically blocked the border. The population relied almost exclusively on mountain agriculture from 1933 to 1937 and lived modestly with great hardship, partially in poverty, almost as they had done a century before. A new economic boom came soon after the Second World War, especially after the completion of the Hochtannberg road in 1957. The first small ski lift was built in 1953. The first chair lift opened in 1964. School director Meinrad Hopfner played a large role in the economic boom in the community. He was mayor from 1960 - 1992 and spent 35 years as the successful and beloved teacher of the single class public school. He made an honorary citizen in 1986. Meinrad Hopfner died after a long illness in 1994 and has his final resting place in Warth.
Pastor Johann Müller, the first skier on the Tannberg
Pastor Johann Müller from Blons was the first skier on the Tannberg. He had ought himself a pair of skis from Sweden in 1895 and secretly practised at night to avoid being seen and laughed at. After he had gained some skills, he travelled on his skis to Lech and showed them to his colleague there. At the time, no one though that this would be of significance for the region. Today, the ski area in the Arlberg is one of the most popular and successful in the Alps!
The Walser settlement Hochkrumbach
When the Tannberg was settled by the Walsers in the 13th century, there were 3 communities. Warth, Schröcken and Hochkrumbach.
The community of Hochkrumbach extended from today's Jägeralpe to the Saloberlift. The name comes from a stream that winds through the high moor. The little mountain villages became known as a stop while transporting salt from Hall in Tirol to the north and west. Due to the remoteness of Hochkrumbach, the twelve (!) families living there at the time had a single pastor.
The "chapel" built in 1550 was converted into a small church and a parish house was built next to it. The church still exists in this location today under the Simmel. This imposing "mountain" is an elevation formed during the Ice Age that is still Hochkrumbach's landmark today.
In the 18th century, the region lost its status as a stop due to the extension of the transportation routes. The population quickly departed and only half of the inhabitants remained in the village by 1840. In 1885, Hochkrumbach was ultimately joined with the community of Warth. After forming transport links with the Hochtannberg road in 1951, the almost completely deserted village experience a notable upsurge, thanks to increased winter tourism.