The Legendary Austrian Skiing StarKarl Schranz

Karl Schranz is one of Austria's best and most renowned ski racers of all time.

The „King of Mount Arlberg" Karl Schranz was born in 1938 in St Anton, which is also the birthplace of Hannes Schneider and thus, of Alpine skiing in the modern sense. His career as a professional skier peaked in the 1950ies, and 1960ies, when he did not only become World Champion in skiing three times, but also hugely popular in Austria. During his lengthy career, from 1955 to 1972, Karl Schranz won all major downhills, many major giant slalom races and several major slaloms. Named in one breath with the most powerful international athletes of all times, such as Franz Beckenbauer, Pelé, Niki Lauda or Muhammad Ali, Karl Schranz had a long, successful, but controversial career at the highest levels of international ski racing: He won three world championships and two overall season cups, one Olympic silver medal and was recognized as world’s best skier four times.

Karl Schranz and the Olympic Games

Schranz has obtained every international honour bestowed on an Alpine skier except an Olympic gold medal. He competed at four Winter Olympics: At his first Olympics at age 21, 1960 in Squaw Valley, Schranz was over motivated and inexperienced. He won a silver medal in giant slalom in 1964 at Innsbruck, despite being ill with the flu. He won no medals in 1968 at Grenoble, where his slalom run (in the thick fog) was interfered with, by a race official stepping on the course. Forced to repeat his run, he finished first overall, only to be disqualified by a controversial jury decision. In 1972, he was banned from the Olympic Games in Sapporo, Japan, because of “amateur rules violations”.

Karl Schranz – The Hero

His disqualification from his fourth Olympics in 1972 for acknowledging that he was not a pure amateur caused a furore in Austria and the reform of the IOC. Karl Schranz won the battle to allow succeeding generations of skiers the right to make money. On his return from Japan, he was welcomed home by a huge crowd in Vienna.  Austrians perceived Schranz as a hero from a small country, bullied by bigger nations. Schranz retired from skiing this very year. Nonetheless, he never lost the love for his sport and played a key role in organizing the 2001 World Championships in his hometown of St. Anton.

The Karl Schranz Hotel

Karl Schranz lives in St. Anton with his wife Evelyn and his three daughters, where he owns and manages the ski hotel that has his name. 

Devider Hotel Karl Schranz, St. Anton am Arlberg