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Apostles of the AlpsMountaineering and Nation Building in Germany and Austria, 1860-1939$
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Tait Keller

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469625034

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469625034.001.0001

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Young People and Old Mountains

Young People and Old Mountains

Commercialism and Conservationism Tangle in the Alps

(p.67) 3 Young People and Old Mountains
Apostles of the Alps

Tait Keller

University of North Carolina Press

Chapter three moves the narrative forward to the early twentieth century when fears about mountaineering’s environmental impact revealed the inherent conflicts of nature tourism. Two divergent trends developed within climbing circles: Alpine populism and mountaineering elitism. Both animated emerging youth movements and nature conservation groups in Germany and Austria during the years before the First World War. Meanwhile, the growing popularity of downhill skiing and motorcars commercialized the Alps and threatened traditional mountaineering norms. Mathias Zdarsky popularized downhill skiing when he published his training manual in 1896. When the Wendelsteinbahn opened in 1912, the first cogwheel train in the Eastern Alps, even more people swarmed the mountains. Some believed that the only way for climbers to secure the future was through youth education and nature preservation, while they emphasized the importance of the Alps to the strengthening of Germans and Austrians, the Volk. These developments were not innocuous.

Keywords:   Youth movements, Nature conservation, Commercialism, Skiing, Mathias Zdarsky, Wendelsteinbahn, Motor cars, Volk

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