Documentary, 86min, AT 2009
Ski Heil – The two planks that mean the world
Recreational sport, competitive sport, and tourist attraction: today skiing is a matter of course, but it was not always this way: 80 years ago, four Austrian mountain boys raced down the snow-capped mountains on self-made skis, organized the first competitive races, and became the co-founders of a mass movement.
Ski Heil is a deeply personal journey through the lives of my father, Richard Rossmann, and his skiing colleagues Karl Koller, Eberhard Kneisl and Guzzi Lantschner. It traces not only their pioneering achievements, but a shared love for skiing and the mountains which stayed with them over a lifetime - sometimes opening up glittering opportunities, sometimes providing a framework to overcome personal and political dilemmas.
From early on, the fate of all four men was closely linked to Austrian and German history. One was the private ski instructor of Albert Speer; one was a student of the Reichs Sport Academy in Berlin; one was a cameraman for Leni Riefenstahl; three of them were members of the Olympic Ski Racing Team in 1936.
Ski Heil is a film about passion and repression, about men and their values that can’t be easily categorized in today’s world.
Karl Koller was born on April 16th 1919 in Kitzbühel. Already fascinated by skiing at young age, skiing became the sport that influenced his career for a lifetime, whether as a ski racer, as the head of the ski school in Kitzbühel or as the chairman of the Austrian Skiing Association. Karl Koller dedicated his life with all his heart and soul “The two boards that mean the world”. Today, at the age of 91 Karl Koller lives with his wife Ida in Jochberg in Tirol.
Highlights in the life of Karl Koller:
1938 Austrian Junior Champion, Downhill
1940–1942 Member of the National German Ski Team of the Greater German Reich
1943–1945 Alpine guide for the “German Wehrmacht” at the Alpine Medical School in St. Johann
1946 Hahnenkamm Champion, Combined
1950–1978 Head of the Ski School in Kitzbühel
Karl has been honored with the golden order of the Province of Tirol
Eberhard Kneisl was born on May 12th 1916 in Sölden in Austria. Growing up in a modest mountain farming family it was skiing that opened up undreamed possibilities for him. Known as the „Tiger from the Ötztal“ Eberhard holds a plethora of international ski racing titles. Alongside his career as a ski racer he has been working as a ski instructor and alpine guide all his life. He only stopped racing a few years ago. Eberhard lived until the age of 92 with his children in Sölden in Tirol. He died on December 26th 2008.
Highlights in the life of Eberhard Kneisl:
1934 Tirol Junior Champion, Downhill & Slalom
1936 World Champion Silver Medalist, Slalom, Innsbruck
Member of the Austrian Olympic Ski Team
1939–1945 Alpine guide for the “German Wehrmacht” in Tirol
1944 Winner of the last “Großglockner Race” of the Greater German Reich
1947 Hahnenkamm Bronze Medalist, Combination
50 years professional experience as state-approved ski instructor and alpine guide Honorary Member of the Ski Club Sölden
Guzzi Lantschner was born on August 10th 1910 in Innsbruck. His extraordinary talent in skiing soon brought him international titles. During the 1930s he was part of the international skiing elite. Through his skiing exploits, doors were opened for him as an actor in Arnold Fanck ́s skiing film “White Ecstasy”, later as camera man to Leni Riefenstahl and later still, an independent filmmaker. Today, at the age of 98 Guzzi Lantschner lives with his wife Inge in Munich.
Highlights in the life of Guzzi Lantschner:
1928 Austrian Skiing Champion
1931 Leading role in the famous skiing movie „White Ecstasy“ by Dr. Arnold Fanck
1932 World Skiing Champion (as a member of the Austrian Ski Racing Team)
1934 Cameraman for Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will
1935 Naturalized German Citizenship
1936 Olympic Silver Medalist, Garmisch 1936
(as a member of the German Ski Racing Team)
1936 Cameraman for Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia I + II
1939–1945 Cameraman for wartime German news reels
1945–1952 Cameraman and ski instructor in Bariloche, Argentina
1952 Return to Germany
Richard Rossmann sen.
Richard Rossmann was born on January 10th 1916 in Salzburg. His passion for skiing began at the age of four when his great uncle gave him his first pair of skis. A passion that influenced his career decisively, as a ski racer, as head of the ski school in Zell am See and as Chairman of the Professional Ski Instructors Association of Salzburg. Richard Rossmann lived until the age of 92 with his wife Maresi in Saalfelden with whom he shared his love for skiing and the mountains. He died on December 30st 2008.
Highlights in the life of Richard Rossmann:
1933 Salzburg Skiing Champion, Slalom & Downhill
1935 Austrian Junior Champion, Glungezer
1936 Member of the Austrian Olympic Ski Team
1937–1939 Studies of Sports at the Reichs Sports Academy in Berlin
1941–1945 Alpine guide for the “German Wehrmacht” at the Alpine Medical School in St. Johann
1945 Reestablishment of the Ski School in Zell am See
1945–1989 Head of the Ski School in Zell am See
1945–1982 Chairman of the Professional Ski Instructors Association of Salzburg
Honored with the golden order of the province of Salzburg
Director, Cinematographer & Editor: Richard Rossmann
Production: Richard Rossmann Filmproduktion
Dramatic Advisor: Sissi Hüetlin
Sound & Mix: Mario Dancso
Postproduction: Thomas Zipf
Music: Fabian Müller
Score: Rufus Wainwright
Diagonale – Festival des österreichischen Films
ECU – International Film Festival Paris
DokMarket Doc Festival Leipzig
Filmfest Zell am See
Kino im Volkstheater Brixlegg
DAS KINO Salzburger Filmkulturzentrum
Nationalparkzentrum Hohe Tauern
Kino im Lohninghof
Kunsthaus Nexus Saalfelden
Salzburger Nachrichten, "Bergfilm"
Die Presse, "Auf der Suche nach dem Heil des Skilaufs"
Tiroler Tageszeitung, "Kleine Schritte und Solide Traditionen"
Falter, "Wir haben es ja nicht ändern können"
Bezirksblatt, "Ski Heil garantiert Gänsehaut"
Wiener Zeitung, "Bei Hitler im Auto"
Drehpunktkultur, "Weißer Pulverschnee deckt immer noch viel zu"