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

Press release 6 April 2021

Mountaineering Villages are usually located far away from large centres or hidden away at the head of a valley. Among mountain lovers and alpinists, these gems are considered real insider tips. “You don’t just happen upon a Mountaineering Village by chance,” Ludwig Wolf, former mayor of Johnsbach im Gesäuse and an important supporter of the Mountaineering Villages Initiative, recently said.
The selection of Mountaineering Villages is not random either – beautiful scenery, areas of interest for mountaineers of all shades and an intact cultural and natural landscape, undisturbed by large-scale technical infrastructure, are just as much part of the criteria as the commitment of the local population to work for a sustainable and nature-compatible community and tourism development.

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.

Großes Walsertal
Grünau im Almtal
Hüttschlag im Großarltal
Johnsbach im Gesäuse
Lavin, Guarda, Ardez
Lunz am See
Ramsau bei Berchtesgaden
Sellraintal region
Steinbach am Attersee
Steinberg am Rofan
Steirische Krakau
St. Antönien
St. Jodok, Schmirn- & Valsertal
Tyrolean Gailtal
Vent im Ötztal
Villgratental valley
Val di Zoldo
Weißbach bei Lofer
Zell / Sele

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.