First professional ski instructor of Austria
Albert Mathies, who had learned skiing from none other than ski pioneer Viktor Sohm, taught at Bödele from 1909, and was therefor the first known, professional ski instructor in Austria at all. (see Thöny, 2012)
Founder of the ski school Albert Fetz, approx. 1959
Founder of skischule bödele – Albert Fetz
Albert Fetz, who built Berghof Fetz in 1958 and opened it the year after that, was the first ski school director and founder of skischule bödele. He was also considered a ski pioneer who already tried all kinds of tricks on the skis with the equipment at that time. The so-called »Reuelschwung« demonstrated by Albert Fetz.
Second ski school director at Bödele – Franz Fetz
After his active years Albert passed the ski school to his son Franz Fetz, who continued the ski school next to the hotel »Gasthof Hirschen« in Schwarzenberg. Franz was ski school director until winter 1989/90.
Third ski school director – Peter Berchtold
In the winter of 1990/91 Franz Fetz offered Peter Berchtold to take over the ski school at Bödele. He took over the location and meeting point Berghof Fetz, built the now popular Kinderland after Fritz Jenny, well-known Vorarlberg children ski educator on the pass summit and found with the practice area at Oberlose best conditions to operate a successful ski school.
In the first years his goal was to make the ski school known beyond the borders. This was initially achieved especially through the popular children's skiing courses during the holidays. With well-trained ski instructors it soon became possible to gain a high level of familiarity in the Austrian and Swiss Rhine Valley and in the near area of Lake Constance.
The children's skiing courses during the holidays with bus shuttle from Altach-Hohenems-Lustenau-Hard-Bregenz-Lauterach-Dornbirn were well-known and used to capacity every winter. The skiing courses for the younger preschool kids in the low season soon had also a fixed place in the offer of the ski school.
Fourth and current ski school director
With season 2017/18 Josef Berchtold has officially taken over the ski school. However, Josef has already been active in the ski school for over 10 years and is also responsible for its marketing strategy.
Josef & Peter Berchtold
In the early years of the 2010s it was necessary to reposition the ski school. The competition in form of numerous ski clubs and societies from the Rhine Valley took away more and more customers from the children's group courses, because of their price advantages. The customers did not understand the price difference and so skischule bödele had to reorganize and position itself more broadly.
This process was tackled by Peter and Josef through promotion of the private course segment. A small but fine core team of ski instructors was built and the group courses were made smaller to ensure higher quality. During this process we completed our offer by adding a rental service at Berghof Fetz. Soon the central feature of our business became clear – the ONE STOP SHOP strategy.
The brand skibödele was born. It brings the areas of ski school – rental – shop together under one roof and offers our guests an easy and stress-free winter sports experience at our Bödele!
Already at the beginning of the 20th century people skied at Bödele. Since 1901 Bödele developed into the most famous place for winter sports in the Lake Constance region.
Bödele – place for winter sports – hotel complex, 1932
Source: Reproduktion Stadtarchiv Dornbirn, o. Sign.
Otto Hämmerle and his Alpenhotel Bödele
In 1905 Otto Hämmerle, textile manufacturer from Dornbirn, acquired an old, simple inn which he rebuilt into a magnificent hotel complex. What started as a small tavern in 1891, evolved until 1938 into the grand Alpinhotel Bödele (see image 1). On february 3rd 1938 the entire hotel fell victim to the flames and burnt down to the ground.
Motor lift at Bödele – Lank, 1907
Source: Orig. Stadtarchiv Dornbirn, o.Sign. Verl. Purger & Co, München.
The first ski lift of the monarchy
At Bödele the first ski lift of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy was already put into operation in 1907. The sled lift was driven by a Puch motor with 4 HP and it can be assumed that this was the first publicly accessible, known ski lift ever.
Bödele-Lank, surface lift, 1950se
Source: Orig. Stadtarchiv Dornbirn, o. Sign. Photo Franz Beer
The cradle of alpine skiing
Because of this early, very important role in Vorarlberg's skiing history it can be said with proud that the Bödele together with the Arlberg can be called the cradle of ski sports in the Alps.
Another milestone of the development at Bödele was certainly the construction of the 1951 completed Lanklift surface lift and the launch of the Hochälpele surface lift in 1957, which is considered as one of Austria's most profitable lifts.
Subsequently several facilities followed, like the Haldenlifts in Schwarzenberg, which are connected only via bus, and one platter lift at Oberlose as well as one at Weißtanne.