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Mythos Kitzbühel – Skipionier Franz Reisch

Type: TV – Documentary for ServusTV
Director: Sascha Köllnreiter
Length: 45 min
Status: released in 2020

Directed by Sasha Köllnreitner, our documentary portrays the development of the ski sport in Austria under the visionary Franz Reisch. The actions that counted as the „dare of some madmen“ at the beginning of the 20th century have shaped a world that is essential for many regions worldwide today.

Born as the seventh of eleven children on 17 October 1863 in Kufstein, he trained as a merchant and later took over the parental wax production in Kitzbühel. After numerous international travels, Franz Reisch bought his first pair of „snowshoes“ (skis with a length of 2.30 m) in Norway. Inspired by the book „On snowshoes through Greenland“ by Fridtjof Nansen, and his irrepressible pioneering spirit, Reisch began a journey that would influence his region and the international winter sports panorama in a way that still reverberates to this day. The fact that the life of Franz Reisch did not only cause a sensation more than a hundred years ago is manifested in many things that still continue to impress an audience of millions today.

First and foremost, the most spectacular ski descent in the world, the Hahnenkamm race, which is celebrated regularly by tens of thousands of live guests and millions of enthralled spectators in front of the TV screens. This race has been a fixed point of the media culmination of the winter season, where winners as celebrated as heroes, and its sponsor wall surpasses any other event in the ski panorama by far. In all this hustle and bustle, however, it is forgotten, until now, that this major event is the pioneering work of one man. After all, it was Franz Reisch who not only recognized the signs of the times but also had a decisive influence. He not only brought skiing to Austria, but also kept an eye on the big picture and helped to establish the winter sport with the construction of skiing and jumping facilities.