New Mountaineering Villages in 2021 & Swiss Alpine Club as New Partner

Press release 6 April 2021

Bergsteigerdörfer liegen meist abseits großer Zentren oder versteckt in einem Talschluss und gelten unter den Bergfreunden und Alpinisten meist als wahre Geheimtipps. „In ein Bergsteigerdorf kommst du nicht zufällig,“ meinte kürzlich Ludwig Wolf, Altbürgermeister von Johnsbach im Gesäuse und ein wichtiger Unterstützer der Initiative Bergsteigerdörfer.
Auch die Auswahl der Bergsteigerdörfer erfolgt nicht zufällig – landschaftliche Reize, alpinistisch interessante Gebiete und eine intakte Kultur- und Naturlandschaft, die nicht durch große technische Verbauungen gestört ist, gehören ebenso zu den Aufnahmekriterien wie das Engagement der lokalen Bevölkerung, sich für eine nachhaltige und naturverträgliche Gemeinde- und Tourismusentwicklung einzusetzen.

New Mountaineering Villages in 2021 – All the Way to the Mediterranean Sea

The initiatives’ international panel has accepted six applications for new Mountaineering Villages. We are looking forward to new additions in Austria, Italy and – for the first time – Switzerland. The initiative now also spans all the way down to the Mediterranean Sea and the far end of the Western Alps.
The Austrian Alpine Club accepts Göriach in Lungau/Salzburg and Steinberg am Rofan/North Tyrol, the Club Alpino Italiano (CAI) brings the initiative to the Western Alps with the successful nomination of the villages of Balme/Piedmont and Triora/Liguria, and with St. Antönien and Lavin, Guarda & Ardez, the Swiss Alpine Club SAC launches the initiative in Graubünden. In the course of the year, all candidates will be officially accepted into the circle of Mountaineering Villages at joining ceremonies.

Swiss Alpine Club SAC Now Part of the Initiative

The SAC is the leading mountain sports association in Switzerland with around 160,000 members and 153 huts run by its sections. Since its foundation in 1863, it has helped shape the development of alpinism and the Alpine region. The SAC connects people interested in the mountain world, promotes mountain sports as an experience and is committed to the sustainable development and preservation of the mountain world. Every year, the SAC offers over 200 courses and thus promotes the training and further education of mountain sports enthusiasts. It designs its activities to be as nature-friendly, environmentally and climate-friendly as possible and promotes sustainable mobility. “The Mountaineering Villages Initiative fits perfectly with the values of the SAC, and we are delighted to be part of this network,” says SAC President Françoise Jaquet.

The Mountaineering Villages Initiative

As of 2021, the Alpine Associations of Austria, Germany, Slovenia, South Tyrol, Italy and Switzerland are now participating in the initiative. Different focal points of the associations are united in the initiative:

For the villages, the benefit is not only the increased publicity as a mountain destination within the Alpine Associations with over 2.5 million members. They are also encouraged in their orientation towards sustainable tourism, which should have positive effects on agriculture, local supply, public transport and population development. In the international network of the Mountaineering Villages, there is a constant exchange on how the villages and regions implement their strategies for a desirable future.

So far, these villages and regions are part of the Mountaineering Villages initiative:

Five Years International - 5 years Implementation Project of the Alpine Convention

In 2016, “Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden” became the first Mountaineering Village outside Austria to join the initiative. Since then, the initiative overcame national borders to promote sustainable development in the Alpine region – in tourism, nature conservation, regional development, mountain agriculture and many more. The Alpine Convention constitutes what sustainable development in the Alps should look like, which is why the philosophy of the Mountaineering Villages itself was inspired by the Alpine Convention over a decade ago. For 5 years now, the initiative has been an official implementation project of this international treaty between the Alpine states.