10 years mountaineering village St. Jodok/Schmirn/Vals
Since 2012, i.e. for 10 years, the Tyrolean village of St. Jodok with the Schmirntal and Valsertal has been a member of the mountaineering villages. Originally this initiative was started by the Austrian Alpine Association, but in the meantime the project has been internationalised and places in Germany (Bavaria), Italy, Slovenia and Switzerland have joined. In May 2019, the Gschnitztal, which like St. Jodok/Schmirn/Vals belongs to the Wipptal holiday region, was accepted into the elite circle of mountaineering villages. There are currently a total of 36 villages with this distinction.
Holiday in a mountaineering village – what does it mean?
The Mountaineering Villages initiative appeals to environmentally conscious guests who, when choosing their holiday destination, value a natural mountain region that has remained untouched by mass tourism and technicisation. Places and regions where everything is a little more tranquil, where tourism has not experienced the boom that has made many a glacier valley what it is today in recent decades. And indeed, there is a growing target group that prefers a beautiful landscape, a good network of mountain paths, small, family-run accommodation as well as huts and refreshment stops with a small but fine range of regional products to a five-star wellness hotel. The guest is welcome, he may enjoy the beauty of the region, our way of life and our traditional customs together with the locals. In turn, we can expect them to treat nature and our culture with respect.
16 partner businesses – successful review of the last 10 years
The now 16 partner businesses in St. Jodok, Vals and Schmirn have adapted to the needs of the alpine guest. These include, for example, an alpine library, an early breakfast for hikers and ski tourers or the arrangement of a mountain guide. In addition, Alpine Club members are granted a discount of 10 % on the overnight price.
The number of overnight stays speaks for itself: from 2012 to 2019, the number of overnight stays doubled while the number of beds remained the same. The occupancy rate was also satisfactory in the Corona crisis years of 2020 and 2021, and in 2022 the number of overnight stays will be roughly back at the pre-crisis level. Several initiatives have contributed significantly to this increase in overnight stays. For example, numerous training courses and courses of the Alpine clubs take place in the partner businesses. Larger events and conferences are also often held in the mountaineering villages. The 7-day basic courses as well as the weekend courses in the “Schule der Alm” have almost always been fully booked since the founding of the “Schule der Alm” association in 2016 and are extremely popular. Many participants return as regular guests in the following years. New to the programme of the Schule der Alm since 2020 are the Alpine Herb Courses in the Alpine Flower Garden Schmirn.
Infrastructure for the alpine guest expanded
Since 2012, the offer for alpine guests has been constantly expanded and improved. In the Stafflacher Wand near St. Jodok, for example, the 650 m long Peter Kofler via ferrata, a drytooling practice area and an alpine climbing area with 7 multi-pitch routes in various degrees of difficulty have been created. In autumn 2022 – exactly on the occasion of the 10th anniversary – a new climbing garden will be completed, which should appeal to families in particular.
The popularity of the Stafflacher Wand is also due to the fact that the entrances to the climbing facilities are very easy to reach and also ideally located for public travel. The access to the wall from the train station is only 10 minutes.
Investing in mobility
Already in the first years as a mountaineering village, it became clear that there was potential for improvement in mobility. In 2013, the hiking bus was installed for the weekend from St. Jodok to Schmirn and Vals. This was followed in 2015 by the offer of a daily winter tour transfer, which takes ski tourers, snowshoe hikers and winter hikers to the starting points of the tours in the morning and picks them up again in the early afternoon, if ordered by telephone up to the evening before.
From the 2022/23 winter season, on the initiative of the municipalities of Schmirn and Vals and the Wipptal Tourism Association, the regular regional bus service to the valleys will also be extended to the weekend.
More than a tourist label
It is important to emphasise that the title of mountaineering village not only has a tourist significance, but also has a lot to do with the mindful use of our resources. One of the main criteria for a mountaineering village is a well-kept landscape, for which our farmers are primarily responsible and who deserve a great deal of thanks. Also important is an intact club life, which has to be maintained by many volunteers. Being a mountaineering village means first and foremost being proud of what you are and what you have.
Anniversary celebration on 17 and 18 September 2022
The first “round birthday” will be celebrated in a big way in the mountaineering village of St. Jodok/Schmirn/Vals. On Saturday, 17.09., a church service will be held in the parish church of St. Jodok, followed by a ceremony in the community hall. On Sunday, 18 September, starting at 11.00 a.m. in Schmirn/Toldern, numerous choirs, some of them from other mountaineering villages, will raise their voices along a culinary hiking trail.
Further information on the event “Wenn i durchgea durch’s Tal”: www.choere-im-tal.at
Further information on the mountaineering villages: www.bergsteigerdoerfer.org
The mountaineering village brochure St. Jodok/Schmirn/Vals and the Alpine History booklet are available at the TVB Wipptal, Rathausplatz 1, 6150 Steinach.