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Toni Sailer? Hansi Hinterseer? Alfons Walde? There are many opinions on who is Kitzbühel's most famous son, but everybody agrees that this village in the east of Tirol is one of the most well-known ski resorts in the world.
Kitzbühel has many famous sons. So who could be considered the most well-known of them all? Maybe Toni Sailer, the Black Blitz, who ruled the pistes and then became a film star. Or Hansi Hinterseer, also a successful ski racer and today a folk music hero whose dashing good looks and dazzling smile make him a hit with the ladies even at the age of 60.
And yet, as famous as they both are, the most typical of all Kitzbühel’s residents must surely have been the painter Alfons Walde (1891-1958). In his works he captured the rise of Kitzbühel from a mountain village to an international wintersports destination and also contributed to the town’s reputation around the world. He produced many postcards and posters depicting the surrounding landscape in winter – an artistic endeavour that made him popular with the masses but for many decades also attracted criticism within the art world. Today, however, all of Walde’s works are recognised for their high artistic quality, regardless of whether they were originally painted for the gallery or the living room wall.
In many ways, Kitzbühel still offers everything Walde painted: fashionable winter guests depicted in his 1927 work “Mondäne Wintergäste” showing two ladies in fur coats, a glistening winter landscape with deep snow and craggy peaks, and daring sportsmen and women hurtling down the slopes at high speed. By the way, Walde was also responsible for designing the iconic chamois logo today famous around the world thanks to the ski races held here in January.