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SICHTBAR [VISIBLE]

Eugen Heimhuber: Photographs on the Arlberg and Hochtannberg

Open-air exhibition in Stuben am Arlberg

With motifs from the Heimhuber collection

Anyone who gains insight into the Heimhuber family's archive in Sonthofen can immerse themselves in more than 140 years of photography in the Allgäu and nearby region. Facing the complex technology, the stock of glass plates is amazing. Eugen Heimhuber (1879-1966) alone has been responsible for around 18,000 recordings of this archive. Some of these photographs were taken during his tours to the regions around the Arlberg, Flexen and Hochtannbergpasses. They date to the time before the First World War and the interwar period. They are being made visible to a broader public for the first time in a project of the Foundation Friends of Hannes Schneider based in Stuben am Arlberg.

^^WHERE THE BILLBOARDS ARE^^

All pictures from the exhibition and other historical pictures on canvas can be purchased online at the Fotohaus Heimhuber: www.fotohaus-heimhuber.de

Skitouristen bei den Pazielfernerspitzen (Valluga), 1913

Ski tourists at the Pazielfernerspitzen (Valluga), 1913

The estate of the photographer and skiing pioneer Eugen Heimhuber from Sonthofen (Allgäu) contains numerous largely unpublished photographs from the years 1900 – 1925 taken in the Arlberg and Hochtannberg regions.

The Allgäu photographer's „glass plate archive" grew to about 18,000 photographs over the course of his professional life – a breathtaking achievement considering how complex photography was at that time with the large plate cameras. A few hundred thousand negatives produced over five generations are stored at the Fotohaus Heimhuber photo studio today. Making the collection one of the most important in Europe.

The Foundation Friends of Hannes Schneider association is making Eugen Heimhuber's motifs from the Arlberg and Hochtannberg regions accessible to the public for the first time in this exhibition. The work was carried out as part of the Interreg „Virtual History Forum" project.


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Eugen Heimhuber als Alpinist

Eugen Heimhuber as an alpinist

The photographs presented in this exhibition were taken during (ski) tours in the Arlberg and Hochtannberg regions undertaken by Eugen Heimhuber (1879-1966) from the early 20th century onwards. The fact that his paths had led to the border region of Tyrol and Vorarlberg can be traced back to early skiing and alpinism‚ networks, which were established between Allgäu and Vorarlberg at the turn of the 19th and 20th century.

The history of the Heimhuber family of photographers dates back to 1876, when Joseph Heimhuber set up his first studio as an apprentice photographer in Sonthofen.

The business was continued by his sons Fritz and Eugen. Eugen Heimhuber contributed around 18,000 photographs to the family's glass plate archive, mainly landscape photographs taken during mountain and ski tours.


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Eugen Heimhuber auf dem Nebelhorn, 1927

Eugen Heimhuber on the Nebelhorn, 1927

Eugen Heimhuber was a photographer and enthusiastic mountaineer and pioneer of alpine winter sports. In 1909 he was hired as a ski instructor by the newly founded Allgäu Ski Association. Locals and guests were to be introduced to winter sports. It went without saying that the young sportsman Eugen Heimhuber also entered competitions. At the first Allgäu ski championships in 1910, he won the first championship title in cross-country skiing and ski jumping for the Oberstdorf ski club. At that time he took photos in13 x 18 cm format using a plate camera.


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Hannes Schneider in St. Christoph, 7. Mai 1922

Hannes Schneider in St. Christoph, mAY 7, 1922

The Mairennen competition, established in St. Christoph in 1907 (including ski jumping), was one of the most important skiing events in the region in the 1920s. One of the most popular participants was Hannes Schneider, at that time still one of the best ski racers in the Alps at over 30 years old.


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Doppelsprung in St. Christoph, 7. Mai 1922

TANDEM JUMP in St. Christoph, May 7, 1922

Tandem ski jumps were always one of the special attractions for spectators at ski jumping competitions. This photo was taken at the Mairennen in St. Christoph in 1922 and shows the jumpers Richter and Ritsch.


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Stuben am Arlberg, ca. 1920

Stuben am Arlberg, approx. 1920

The small village before the last ascent to the pass „with the Arlen" had the honourable title locally of „Des Kaisers größte Stube" (The emperor's biggest room). Emperors and popes, princes and merchants, pilgrims and vagabonds, but mainly mule packers, appreciated Stuben as a resting place, shelter and safe refuge from avalanches and storms."

Martin Purtscher, former Governor (2005)


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Blick zum Kalten Berg vom Peischlkopf, 15. März 1922

view to the Kalten Berg FROM Peischlkopf, March 15, 1922

"The Kaltenberg (2.900 m), the most beautiful ski mountain on the Arlberg alongside the Valluga, is climbed for the first time with skis from St. Christoph through the Maroital by 4 members of the Academic Alpine Club Munich on 6 March 1904: Karl Gruber, Freiburg i. Br., Gustav Aubin,  Reichenberg, Otto Schlagintweit, Munich and Wilfried von Seidlitz, Freiburg."

Walther Flaig (1956)


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Blick zum Krachel und Kalten Berg, 1922

View to the Krachel and Kalten Berg, 1922

The most frequented route over the so-called Krachel up the Kaltenberg back then was found on 26 February 1905 and skied for the first time by Herold and Heller from Lindau and Ferdinand Schallert, Bludenz. The famous Norwegian skiing king Leif Berg held a ski course on the Lenzerheide in 1905, which Viktor Sohm took part in along with other Vorarlberg locals, thus introducing the „Norwegian School" to the Arlberg."

Walther Flaig (1956)


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Ulmer Hütte, 13. März 1922

Ulmer Hütte, March 13, 1922

Friedrich Fritz and Josef Anton Mathies, together with representatives from the Ulm sector, determined the location of the Ulmer hut in 1902. The Ulmer hut (2.280 m above sea level) was built in 1903 by the Ulm sector of the German Alpine Club. The building material was transported from Rauz to the Ulmer hut construction site with mules by local men, including the young Johann Schneider, later known as Hannes Schneider."

Hans Thöni (2005)


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Skigebiet der Ulmer Hütte, 1922

skiing area around Ulmer Hütte, 1922

Barely open and only just snowed in, the Ulmer hut is visited by Viktor Sohm on skis from Stuben via Rauz on 20 October 1903. Another two skiers armed with „lances" climbed up there on the morning of the 21 October: mountain guide Ferdinand Schallert and engineer Hugo Sugg from Bludenz. They came across the ski track near the Ulmer hut. But what was most astonishing were the traces of a bear running conscientiously to the left and right of the ski track with its big paws. The two could not do enough to paint a picture of their encounter with the bear, in short - they had „a terrible rush", old Schallert told me himself, with the „bear paws" in the snow. Once they arrived at the Ulmer hut, the bear was sitting there in the snug! His name was Viktor Sohm. But his bear paws were outside in the snow. They were a couple of double poles with huge snow baskets, probably the first ones on the Arlberg!"

Walther Flaig (1956)


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Ulmerhütte mit Valluga, Valfagehrjoch und Schindlergrat, 13. März 1922

Ulmerhütte with Valluga, Valfagehrjoch AND Schindlergrat, mARCH 13, 1922

Fridtjof Nansen, legendary skiing pioneer from Norway, climbed the Valluga in 1912 under the guidance of „Mathiesle", Anton Mathies from Stuben, accompanied by Grete and Olaf Gulbransson. The Queen of the Arlberg had not only won wrested the greatest enthusiasm but also the utmost respect from Nansen, as with his Norwegian compatriot Lauritz Bergendahl the year before, when he took part in the Austrian skiing championships on the Bödele in 1911. After the tour the skiing king Bergendahl, undisputedly the best skier in the world at that time, wrote these beautiful words in his notebook: There's a mountain on the Arlberg called Valluga - I want to take it home with me!"

Walther Flaig (1956)


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Müller, Madlener und Sohm am Valfagehrjoch, 14. März 1902

Müller, Madlener and Sohm at the Valfagehrjoch, March 14, 1902

Viktor Sohm has just arrived in St. Anton (after his daring first ski tours in Samnaun) to welcome three famous skiing pioneers from the Allgäu: Photographer Eugen Heimhuber, Oberstdorf i. A., Dr Max Madlener, Kempten and Dr Christoph Müller, who arrived in St. Anton at 3 o'clock in the morning and immediately climbed up the Valluga in the same hour on 14 March 1902. Heimhuber took magnificent photos [...]. This was a major event for the Arlberg, as Dr Madlener (not to be confused with Andreas Madlener, Bregenz, who the Madlener house in the Silvretta is named after)
was one of the top pioneers in alpine skiing at the time."

Walther Flaig (1956)


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Aufstieg zum Valfagehrjoch, 14. März 1902

Ascent to the Valfagehrjoch, March 14, 1902

We had skis sent from Norway, long wooden boards with leather toe straps and heelstraps reinforced with cane. After a few warm-up exercises in the Kempten area, we climbed the Stuiben. We used a long stick and moved similarly to Zdarsky. We didn't have any skins or wax yet. Despite the effort of the ascent, the descent was great fun for us."

Max Madlener


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Am Weg zur Valluga, 14. März 1902

on the way to the Valluga, March 14, 1902

Viktor Sohm, Eugen Heimhuber, Max Madlener and Christoph Müller climbed the most famous mountain in the Arlberg region for the first time in winter, the Valluga summit. This was an absolute highlight at this time of the first winter ascents. Heimhuber captured this tour in impressive photographs.


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Christoph Müller am Sonnenkopf (Allgäu)

Christoph Müller at the Sonnenkopf (Allgäu)

We tried all the ski bindings recommended at the time and climbed various Allgäu mountains and other ski peaks. Besides the few skiers from Kempten, my companions were Dr Christoph Müller from Immenstadt, the brothers Fritz and Eugen Heimhuber from Sonthofen and Viktor Sohm from Bregenz."

Max Madlener


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St. Christoph am Arlberg, 1903

St. Christoph am Arlberg, 1903

Enchanted by nature, thrilled by the sport, imbued with the need to create a modest meeting place on the Arlberg for friends of this noble pleasure, the spontaneous excursionists involved felt persuaded to found the Arlberg Ski Club."

Entry in the visitors' book at St. Christoph hostelry about the foundation of the Ski Club Arlberg on the 3 January 1901.


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St. Christoph mit Hospiz und Wegmacherhaus, 1905

St. Christoph with Hospiz and Wegmacherhaus, 1905

Quiet St. Christoph was left out in the cold following the opening of the Arlberg Railway in 1884. Oswald Trojer, the hostelry's landlord, received more and more visits from ski tourists in the winter from 1901 though. He entertained them with his gramophone as they were making their tracks on the slopes around the hostelry.


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St. Christoph, 7. März 1920

St. Christoph, March 7, 1920

"Hermann Hartmann had travelled to the Arlberg with Ostler and Sohm on 10 December 1899. Ostler and Sohm had ordered their skis from Fischer in Freiburg but not received them yet and were therefore out and about with snowshoes. As a result, they had to let Hartmann set off on his own to climb from St.Anton to St. Christoph in wonderful powder snow. He spontaneously tackled the enticing ski mogul that rises above St. Christoph: the Galzig! He entered his name in the hostelry's visitors' book on 10 December 1899: „With snowshoes from St. Anton to St. Christoph in 1½ hours, from St. Christoph to the Galzig peak (2,185 m) in 2 hours 10 minutes, downhill in 18 minutes, snow depth 0.68 m to 1.60 m – a wonderful panoramic view!" This was the first ascent of a ski peak on the Arlberg."

Walther Flaig (1956)


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Anstieg zur Schindlerspitze, 6. März 1920

Ascent to the Schindlerspitze, March 6, 1920

The First World War had practically brought the slowly emerging tourism on the Arlberg up to 1914 to a standstill. The first ski tourers were spotted again in the 1919/20 winter season. During this time, Hannes Schneider resumed his work as a ski instructor in St. Anton am Arlberg.


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Stuben am Arlberg, 21. September 1926

Stuben am Arlberg, September 21, 1926

While Stuben am Arlberg was still very busy during construction of the Arlberg Railway, times of crisis followed the opening of the Arlberg Railway. Numerous residents left the village and several old houses were demolished. A reversal in this trend was only brought about by tourism that really started to develop properly during the interwar period.


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Stuben am Arlberg, 21. September 1926

Stuben am Arlberg, September 21, 1926

Modest tourist traffic began in Stuben from 1900, which just benefited the Fritz family's Gasthof Post and the Walch family's Gasthaus Mondschein inns at first."

Hans Thöni (2005)


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Gräfin Lamberg springt in St. Anton, Februar 1914

Countess Lamberg Jumps in St. Anton, February 1914

Paula Reichsgräfin von Lamberg (1887-1927) was a pioneer of women's skiing jumping from Kitzbühel. She also had the nickname „The Flying Countess" and achieved the sensational jump distance of 22 metres „in a long skirt with impeccable posture" in Kitzbühel in 1911.


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Hannes Schneider springt in St. Anton, Februar 1914

Hannes Schneider jumps in St. Anton, February 1914

Hannes Schneider was the best ski racer of his time around 1910. He had already caused a sensation at numerous competitions as a teenager. As he was a paid ski instructor, he was not allowed to enter official skiing events in Austria due to the „amateur paragraph". Which is why he was always not eligible for ski jumping competitions in St. Anton.


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Ansicht der Flexenstraße

View of the Flexenroad

The need for today's road arose after the opening of the Arlberg Railway in 1884. The first section of the new Flexenstraße road up to the top of the pass was officially inaugurated on 11 October 1897. The master builder was Johann Bertolini. Instead of the old mule track with its many hairpin bends from Stuben west of the Zürs stream through a steep southern slope constantly prone to avalanches to Zürs, a branch was built from the Arlbergstraße road above Stuben near the Rauz Alp and a new route was laid in the rocks. The first protective roofs were built, as well as a tunnel and a bridge over the Hölltobel gorge. The road was initially three metres' wide. The road to the Tyrol's Lechtal was finished in 1909.


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Hölltobel an der Flexenstraße, 22. September 1926

Hölltobel on the Flexenroad, September 22, 1926

Two large, extensive areas both lapped by the river Lech, the Vorarlberg Lech Valley and the Tyrol Lech Valley, are now connected by an elaborately built road and brought closer to the Arlberg railway station in Langen at the same time."

Governor Adolf Rhomberg at the opening of the Flexenstraße (1909)


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Omnibus am Arlbergpaß, 8.September 1926

Bus on the Arlbergpaß, September 8, 1926

Motorised traffic started to slowly develop across the Arlberg in the early 20th century. The vehicles taking part in the Paris-Vienna race, for example, caused a sensation in 1902. More and more guests travelled over the Arlberg Pass in motorised vehicles during the interwar period, as the number of cars and buses increased.


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Autobus der Firma Alpenvogel am Flexenpass, 12. Juli 1925

Bus on the Flexenpass, July 12, 1925

The road links over the Flexen Pass and Arlberg Pass were already hugely popular as excursion routes during the interwar period. Eugen Heimhuber's photographs of the journey over the three passes (Fern Pass, Arlberg Pass, Flexen Pass) are impressive proof of this.


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Blick ins Pazieltal, Februar 1913

vIEW TO THE Pazieltal vALLEY, FebruarY 1913

Viktor Sohm and Fritz Iklé climbed the Valluga for the first time on skis from Zürs through the Paziel Valley and back on 27 October 1905. Thus opening up an in vogue tour of the Arlberg that is much loved in both directions later on."

Walther Flaig (1956)


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Gasthof Edelweiß in Zürs, ca. 1911

Gasthof Edelweiß (inn) in Zürs, APPROX. 1911

The inseparable skiing comrades Sohm and Iklé travel to the Arlberg again in November 1905 and just for fun, bring four local ski enthusiasts together in Stuben for the first ski course in Stuben am Arlberg, which was later to become extremely important due to its participants, as the four were called: Therese Mathies, Sohm's future wife and her brother Albert Mathies. The third was Engelbert Strolz, the future landlord of the Edelweiss in Zürs and the fourth? - was Hannes Schneider."

Walther Flaig (1956)


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Lech, 8. März 1920

Lech, March 8, 1920

Ski man's land! No track has been made through the purity. .... It is the most secluded country we're passing through now, making a wide arc to avoid the faces of the Mohnenfluh. Deathly silence prevails and as skiers glide over distant snowfields, approaching in rapid speed, we welcome our fellow men to wintry Ödtal like a happy event. As we bypass the Kitzbach ravine moving uphill, rain showers break from the evening clouds. The journey over the alpine pastures down to Lech becomes a dubious pleasure in the wet snow. The canopied church of Lech welcomes us ... The crest beckons where the wet ski man can warm up at the mighty art made of stone slabs at the Pfefferkorn."

Paul Dinkelacker (1924/25)


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