Warth am Arlberg
Walser mountain village at 1,500 m
Warth is located at 1,500 metres directly within the Warth-Schröcken ski area. Due to its location, Warth has a direct connection to the ski lifts in the winter and the village descents go almost right past the doors of the houses. In the summer, Warth is an ideal starting point for hikes and mountain tours of all kinds. The top hotels, charming atmosphere of the private landlords and the rustic, cosy bars mark the village and make it a beloved holiday destination for all ages.
Milestones in the development of Warth
- Area: 19.33 km2 , Inhabitants: 156
- 11th century: Settlement by the Walsers from the Swiss canton Wallis
- 1626: Weiler Gehren and Lechleiten enter the Warth parish
- 1895: Priest Johann Müller orders his first pair of skis and is known ever since as the first skier and pioneer on the Tannberg
- Until 1908, Warth lived from cattle and dairy farming
- 1924-1928: The "Pfarrhof" becomes the first guest establishment in Warth
- 1928: Founding of Warth ski school by Otto Fritz - First stirrings of tourism
- Mid-1928: Construction and opening of the mountain hotel "Biberkopf", construction of a police building
- 1933: The first post office in Warth opens
- 1933-1937: Ebb in tourism due to the 1,000 mark restriction
- After 1953: Economic boom from the construction of the first ski lift
- 1957: Complete of the Hochtannberg Pass road
- 1967: Opening of the first chair lift
Warth-Schröcken ski area
Videos about the development of Warth's ski history
Development of Warth's ski history - the 1960s
Development of Warth's ski history - the 1970s
Development of Warth's ski history - the 1980s
Development of Warth's ski history - the 1990s
Development of Warth's ski history - the 2000s
Read the entire history of Warth here
Before the settlement of the Walsers, both the Celts and the Romansh settled in the Alps and certainly one or another of them on the Tannberg.
In 1059, Emperor Henry IV gave a large hunting area surrounding the Widderstein to the Bishop of Augsburg to whose ecclesiastical territory the area belonged until 1816.
The settlement of the Walsers took place between 1280-1300, who came from the western Swiss canton Wallis. The Walsers were leased the land from Swabian landlords for a modest 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 the present day in the remote mountain areas. The concessions of self-administration and limited 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 central village of Lech. From 1528 to 1563, however, it held proceedings on the Tschirggen in Hochkrumbach as a concession to the demands for independence of Kleinwalsertal. Natural, close economic and familial ties arose.
In 1451, Archbishop Sigismund of Austria, also called "the Münzreich" [rich in coin], conquered the Tannberg by violence. The Walsers lost their old rights and were assigned to the sovereignty of Bregenz. The Walsers did not receive their rights and freedom back until Emperor Maximilian I of Hapsburg restored them i 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 was conducted from 1895 to 1897 and the tower was elevated by 6 m. The parcels Lechleiten and Gehren belong to the Ehrenberg court and Holzgau parish or, earlier, to Elbigenalp parish. These parcels 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 belong to Warth in ecclesiastical terms, they were still politically allocated to the community of Steeg in Tyrol.
Until the completion of Lechtalbundesstraße in 1908, Warth was very remote and worked exclusively in 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. Priest Essl - himself an ambitious athlete - 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 priest were generally welcomed. On his initiative, Otto Fritz attend 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 was only postal deposit.
The favourable developments in tourism and the community came to a sudden stop in 1933 when National Socialist Germany introduce the 1,000 mark restriction against Austria, which was practically a sealing of the border. The population relied almost exclusively on mountain agriculture from 1933 to 1937 and lived modestly with great hardship, partially in poverty, nearly like they did a century before. A new economic boom came soon after the Second World War, especially after the complete 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.
Priest Johann Müller, the first skier on the Tannberg
Priest Johann Müller from Blons was the first skier on the Tannberg. Order bought 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 the priest there. At the time, no one was aware of the significance this would have 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 sale from Hall in Tyrol to the north and west. Due to the remoteness of Hochkrumbach, the twelve (!) families living there at the time had a single priest.
The "chapel" built in 1550 was converted into a small church and a parish house was built next to it. The location of this church that still exists today is 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 traffic connections with the Hochtannberg road in 1951, the almost completely remove village experience a notable upswing thanks to increased winter tourism.