50 Jahre Leoganger Bergbahnen
50 years ago, 11 people from Leogang showed pioneering spirit and laid the foundation for winter tourism in our region: the construction of the Leoganger Bergbahn in 1971. The special thing about this story: The whole thing was not financed by loans from a bank, but by the people of Leogang. Are you ready for the whole story?
Skiing at the Asitz
But skiing at the Asitz was already a thing before the chairlift was built. My grandfather was still a young boy, 11 years old, when he climbed the Asitz on foot with guests. The goal was the Asitzhütte, which belonged to his family at that time. Fully packed, he trudged ahead, the guests following behind him. The guests spent the night at the top of the hut, there was no electricity or water. Heating was provided by a wood stove and water was fetched from a spring on foot. No one would probably book this vacation experience today ;-)
Kick-off for winter tourism
For a long time, there had been efforts to build the chairlift based on the model in Saalbach, but the project was considered an enormous risk with too many uncertainties. As a result, there was initially a lack of enough supporters, then of an independent expert opinion and finally of credit from the banks. With a lot of perseverance, the initiators went from house to house to convince people of the project and to get the necessary landowners on board. It was thanks to the patient persuasion of former mayors Albert Steidl and Sebastian Madreiter in particular that the necessary land was made available. Subsequently, an attempt was made to raise the necessary equity capital of just under 3 million shillings (218,000 euros) from local people who, as shareholders, were also to benefit from the later success of the company. Many "little people" finally got involved and together they were able to raise the sum, which was very high for the time.
Pioneering spirit, courage and a pinch of craziness
In the first winter of 1971/1972, the double chairlift only went as far as to the middle station. Due to a scarcity of snow, skiing was only possible for about 14 days and the banks did not want to give any further credit for the necessary extension up to the Asitz. They asked for an additional private guarantee. Here 11 courageous people (Albert Steidl, Sebastian Madreiter, Anton Madreiter, Hans Mariacher, Herbert Seer, Leonhard Mühlauer, Sepp Altenberger, Kaspar Fischbacher, Jakob Ritter, Hans Hörl, Siegfried Rieder, Matthäus Obwaller) were found, whose guarantee actually lasted until September 1996. How intensively former mayor Tribuser already tried to find financiers in the 1960s may be seen from the fact that he showed up at the Asitzhütte one day at nightfall. He had made the strenuous hike in fresh snow because he heard that there was a guest at the Asitzhütte who was interested in building a lift in Leogang.
Evaluation on cross-country skis
Now it was also necessary to convince the Salzburg Winter Commission from a political point of view. It took some time until finally Prof. Rösner (today he is considered one of the first worldwide experts for the assessment of potential ski resorts) was allowed to make an evaluation for Leogang. For this purpose, the former Olympic participant ran with his cross-country skis over to the Geierkogel and from there down to the snow line to Viehhofen and back to the Asitz. He came to the conclusion that the "development of the Asitz area would mean an extraordinarily beautiful ski center, where it would even be possible to ski until mid-April!" The actual opening took place on January 10, 1974 and it was the wish of the then managing director that the mountain railroads should bring prosperity and happiness to the locals.
To the next 50 years
Since the opening, we have been constantly developing as a region. This was followed by the fusion with Saalbach Hinterglemm and later with Fieberbrunn. In the meantime, the Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn awaits us with 270 top-prepared kilometers of slopes, 70 modern lifts, more than 60 excellent huts and many other attractions for young and old. This pleases not only our guests, but also us locals! ;-)