Legacy: Austria's Influence on American Skiing

Hannes Schneider & His Disciples (1940)

Season 1, Episode 2 of 4

With the onset of World War II, Austrian ski instructors and racers were viewed with both suspicion and interest. Suspicion they might be Nazi collaborators, interest in recruiting them to teach ski and rock climbing skills to U.S. troops. Consequently some were imprisoned while others, a number of them self-proclaimed disciples of Hannes Schneider, were encouraged to train the United States' first division of ski and mountain troops - the 10th mountain division. And join they did, some of them even went on to fight against their former Austrian compatriots on the Italian front. Thereafter they played a key cultural, professional, and technical role in the further development of such famous ski resorts as: Aspen, Mt. Cranmore, Stowe - where the Trapp Family settled and developed the first cross-country ski resort in the Americas, and Sun Valley. The legacy of these pioneers serves as a testament to their alpine cultural heritage, determination, and entrepreneurial spirit that afforded them many successes, accompanied by an attitude that anything and everything is possible, best exemplified by their leader - Hannes Schneider. And although Hannes & His Disciples have passed their legacy survives, best evidenced by the success of so many Austrian influenced ski resorts.

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