Legacy: Austria's Influence on American Skiing

Austrian Ski Culture & Helicopter Skiing - 1960s

Season 1, Episode 4 of 4

For generations Austrian architecture, apres ski ambience, ski school directors and instructors gained notice and profits in the Americas. In the 1960s and 70s the Austrian Emo Henrich at Stratton in Vermont, and the Austrians Hans Gmoser and Mike Wiegele in the Canadian Rockies, put their cultural and entrepreneurial skills to work and thus furthered this legacy. At Stratton, Emo recruited many Austrian instructors with whom he created not only, the Stratton Mountain Boys -- a successful Austrian alpine music band (that to this day tours throughout the United States) -- but also, with a predominantly New York clientele, a progressive, competitive and innovative climate. Consequently, Stratton became home for: Pro and World Cup racing, freestyle skiing (and some of their champions), as well as Jake Burton of snowboard fame. Meanwhile, Hans Gmoser and Mike Wiegele, both from humble origins in Austria, pioneered helicopter skiing in the Canadian Rockies. And Austria, especially via its considerable ski industry, continues to influence the present and future directions of the snow sports world.

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