Schwarzenberg and the Bödele

The development of the Bödele and its central role

Since its earliest colonization, the Bödele, also called the "Lose", has played an important role in Schwarzenberg's history. It was one of the two passages over which early settlers came to the Bregenzerwald. Whether by footpath, mule trail, cart path, or road, people and goods moved between the Rhine Valley and the Bregenzerwald via the Lose. It got its name from its flat location on the pass.

At the turn of the century, textile manufacturer and amateur farmer Otto Hämmerle woke the Bödele from its rural idyll. In 1876, his father acquired the Hochälpele pasture and developed it into an exemplary alpine farm. Inspired by his success, Otto Hämmerle decided to purchase the Oberlose pasture with all 12 huts. His idea was to create an easily accessible holiday resort. In addition, he wanted to turn the Bödele into a small tourist center in this magnificent location.

The transformation into a hill farm began in 1902. Stables for 60 cows including dairy buildings, modern dairy processing, and product marketing increased revenue. He had the now vacant pasture huts converted into modest vacation houses without noticeably changing the appearance. Most have preserved their character to this day and have been in family possession for many generations.

He also implemented his plans for tourist use. In 1904, he acquired the important property and inn of  Johann Klocker, and in its place, a vast hotel ensemble was created. Recreational offers, sports facilities, as well as swimming lakes and chapels were intended to attract guests. Finally in 1907/1908, Hämmerle had a road built from Ammenegg to the hotel at his own expense. It became indispensable for pampered guests and the replenishment of goods and supplies. The hotel business achieved success, because at the time, skiing was cutting-edge. However, circumstances were extremely difficult due to the First World War, the economic crises, the 1000 mark border-crossing fee, and the non-family-run management. After Otto Hämmerle's death in 1916, the entrepreneurial spirit of the pioneer was lacking and the situation became increasingly difficult. The bitter end came on February 3, 1938 when the entire hotel went up in flames during the impassable winter season.

In a converted barn of the administration building, Franz Karl Feurstein continued the business until 1954. In 1952, the hotel business was established in a former country house and run by the Giradelli family until 2001. In 2006, the hotel was destroyed by a fire for the 2nd time. Since 2014, Alpenhotel Bödele has once again been run by the Hämmerle family. With Berghof Fetz, another tourist business was established as were several other staffed hut accommodations.

The Bödele as a pioneer of skiing in Vorarlberg

Whenever the Bödele is mentioned, it is inevitably connected with the development of the local sport of skiing and winter tourism. In 1899, ski pioneer Viktor Sohm with his friends from Dornbirn went on ski tours on the Hochälpele with ski runs to Schwarzenberg or Dornbirn. So, the Bödele became a birthplace of skiing at almost the same time as the Arlberg. In 1904, ski jumping began here on simple hills. The first motorized lift was built in 1908, so that the Austrian Ski Championship of 1912 could be held here. When skiing blossomed as a popular sport after the First World War, the desire for a private vacation house or rented hut was awakened in many. This is a trend that continues today.

The Bödele became the most popular winter sports area in the Rhine Valley and Lake Constance region, even more so when the Lank lift was built in 1951 and the Hochälpele lift in 1957. For Schwarzenberg, the Bödele was a prestigious project that turned into a considerable economic factor.

Whether summer or winter, the Bödele delights both guests and locals alike with its beautiful natural landscape, its magnificent peace and quiet, and its special atmosphere

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SCHWARZENBERG tourist office
Vorarlberg, Austria
Tel.:  +43 5512 3570
E-mail: info@schwarzenberg.at 

Opening times
Mo, Tue, Thu: 8:00 to 12:00 & 14:00 to 16:00
Fr: 8:00 to 12:00
Wednesday: closed

Extended opening times during the Schubertiade

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