50 years hotel Das Central Sölden

TWO HOTELIERS AND A CATTLE DEALER. The day the mighty Gaislachkogl mountain was made accessible via cable car in 1966 marked a historic milestone in Sölden’s history. The three founders of the Bergbahnen Sölden mountain lift company, Hans Falkner, Hermann Gurschler and Martin Riml, were the driving forces behind the development of the now renowned tourist destination. The grand opening of the Central sports hotel in December 1969 was also down to their pioneering spirit.

"This place needs a good hotel"

With this announcement,* the tourism pioneers Falkner, Gurschler and Riml* got down to work in the mid-1960s. Their goal was to finally create a high-quality accommodation facility in their own home community. They were driven by a desire to create an attractive range of accommodation options in addition to continuously expanding the ski area. Although Sölden was already known as a tourist destination at the time, there was a lack of beds in its upscale hotel industry. At the same time, the three pioneers relied on their function as role models and hoped that their willingness to invest in quality would inspire many others. Shortly before Christmas 1969 – after almost one and a half years of construction – the “Sporthotel Central” opened its doors and has since been a popular temporary home for guests from all over the world.

“A good cable car specialist must also be a good businessman.”

With courage, determination and the will to take on new challenges, the hoteliers Martin Riml and Hermann Gurschler, and cattle dealer Hans Falkner acted as the driving forces behind tourism in Sölden. It remains a mystery why they are still given the title “The Daring Three”, because they were not exactly known for risky undertakings. Despite his two partners’ experience in tourism, Hans Falkner aka “Buggl’s Hans” took the initiative in the project to create an upscale establishment in Sölden – Das Central.

The three pioneers from Sölden

The three pioneers Hans Falkner, Hermann Gurschler and Martin Riml recognised early on that the development of winter sports was opening up huge future opportunities for Sölden. Thanks to their foresight and commitment to investing locally, it wasn’t just their own companies benefited. The pioneers laid the groundwork for numerous locals to make a livelihood.


Hermann Gurschler

RIGHT TO THE POINT. Although post-war Sölden already had the longest lift in Austria in 1948, the early days were tough. The future of the cable car company was in jeopardy. Its continued existence was only ensured through the active intervention of Hans Falkner, Hermann Gurschler and Martin Riml. Although Gurschler is not described as a man of many words, he is remembered for the quality of his handshake and his ability to get right to the point an argument.


Martin Riml

AMBITIOUS PERSONALITY. Entrepreneurship was also in Martin Riml’s blood, and he was known as an affable person in the Ötztal. In his early years, he founded a sports shop and then also entered the hotel and catering business with the Hotel Post and the Sonnblick in Hochsölden. He later went on to build the Hotel Sölderhof, which still exists today.


Hans Falkner

COUNTRY WISDOM. The third member of the group was Hans Falkner, also known as “Buggl’s Hans”. The trained master baker was happy to leave behind his life in the bakery, preferring instead to work as a cattle dealer, where he gained a lot of experience and negotiating skills. He stubbornly pursued his goal of “making Sölden a first-rate winter sports resort”. This is also thanks to his two colleagues Gurschler and Riml, who, as managing directors of the ski lift company, had given him the freedom he needed.


What’s better? A reference to the well-known restaurant “Drei Husaren” with fine cuisine in Vienna or a name that gets straight to the point like “Sporthotel Central”? The management team at Bergbahnen Sölden chose the second option because of its central location. This was a wise decision. The name has been around for over five decades, albeit with some wordmark and logo adaptations. At the beginning the hotel was still called “Sporthotel Central”, but the name has been slimmed down to “Hotel Central” and now simply goes by “Das Central”.


Host at the hotel Das Central

As a child she was already fascinated by the special atmosphere of the microcosm of the hotel. This passion has never waned since then. Even when she was still in school and spent the holidays working in the hotel. The Central has had a fixed place in her life since 1978 and she took over management of it in 1990 alongside Gottlieb Waschl. Like the great Edith Piaf, she has no regrets, just clear commitment: “I would choose this profession again and again.” Having the opportunity to meet people from different countries and exchange ideas with them is something Angelika appreciates too much to give up. As a good listener, this suits her nature perfectly.

Further insights into the hotel history

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