Arlberg Area: Stuben am Arlberg
Of the fancy ski resorts of the Arlberg Area, which are all in pretty high altitudes, Stuben is the highest. It is situated by the Arlberg-Passstraße Road in the Vorarlberg side of the mountain. Stuben is not a community in the administrative sense of the word, but actually part of Klösterle.
Stuben claims to be the birthplace of Alpine skiing - which might be a bit far fetched; however, it is in fact the birthplace of Hannes Schneider, who played a pioneering role in developing a formal way to teach skiing and helped to establish skiing deep in Austrian culture. It was Hannes Schneider who founded the first skiing school of the country in nearby St. Anton - a school that still persists with an impressive army of 400 ski instructors.
Unlike many villages in high altitudes, Stuben can trace its history back to the Middle Ages. The oldest written record dates back to 1330, when Stuben was mentioned as a postal station. Like most postal stations, Stuben had a shelter for horses and a pub for the messengers. "Stube" means "parlour" in German, and the name "Stuben" is likely to refer to the comfort of the pub and stable in this ghastly environment. It was considered to be the "Emperor′s last parlour" before crossing the Arlberg region and thus, played a crucial role for the traffic between today′s Tyrol and Vorarlberg.
20th century Stuben: Skiing becomes main Industry
Only in 1884, Stuben lost its importance as a "traffic hub": The postal line was closed down after the construction of the "Arlbergbahn" railway between St. Anton and Langen. The result was unemployment and economic trouble in Stuben - but only for a few years. Around 1900, German skiers recognised the Arlberg′s potential as a skiing resort and established this brand new sport in Western Austria.
After World War I, skiing kicked in properly and in the second half of the 20th century, the skiing industry finally flushed down the remaining bits of the authentic village. Today, Stuben consists essentially of ski hotels, bars, lifts and more hotels. There are more charming places in Austria, but if you fancy skiing, Stuben is the way forward.
From Stuben, you can take a lift to the Albona. This mountain - at an impressive 2,500 metres - provides some of Austria′s best areas for free-ride skiing off the slopes. The Albona has thus become a bit of an icon for the entire Arlberg region. Attractions nearby include the other towns: Pettneu, the previously mentioned St. Anton, St. Christoph, Lech and Zürs. For a slightly further drive, go to Landeck or Imst. Days with bad weather might be well-spent in Tyrol′s capital Innsbruck.
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