THE HISTORY OF HOTEL BÜGELHOF
Fate brought skiing to Sälen
Heinrich Josef Schwalm, an Austrian from the outskirts of Kitzbühel, was one of the first and one of the best at skiing. As a young man, Heinrich had decided that snow skiing must be the best thing in the world. After trying over 60 different varieties of skis, he finally found the right one for him.
By 1929, when Heinrich was an accomplished skier, he was out on the Hahnenkamm Alm, where the famous Hahnenkamm Races are now held every January. When he pulled up just after the steep Mausfalle, where he had jumped at least 60-80 metres, he saw a boy further down in the valley waving to him.
The boy told him that a foreign man was looking for him.
Curt-Ewert was born in 1912, and had studied at the Norra Latin school in Stockholm, before becoming a successful businessman. He came to hear of Heinrich Josef Schwalm. He felt compelled to visit him, and they became good friends, talking endlessly about skiing, their common interest.
Heinrich visited Sweden and Sälen, with which Curt-Ewert had fallen in love. He said: “I’m going to bring people here to ski.” Heinrich declared his support. No sooner said than done, and before long, a ski lift had been built opposite Sälfjällstorget, as it’s known today. In 1935, the ‘old’ Sälenstugan was founded. Skiing and tourism became a fact of life.
The two men remained friends for life.
In 1968, they turned the first turf for what became Hotel Bügelhof. The hotel opened in 1971, and has been run in many different formats and names over the years, Such as ‘Hotell Tangen’, ‘Hotell tre hästar’ and ‘Hotell Jonas.’
Heinrich had a son in March 1944, named Manfred Heinrich Josef Schwalm. Heinrich often talked about how much he loved the mountains and Sälen. Manfred was also the inquisitive type, and decided to go to Sälen and discover what his father had experienced there. Manfred had studied at catering colleges in Switzerland, and ended up staying in Sälen, taking over the hotel. He renamed it to ‘Hotel Bügelhof 1989-2004’, after the name of a street from his home town, just outside Kitzbühel.
Hotel Bügelhof is now run by Ulf Clacton, Ylva and Kalle Strömmer, and their staff. A love of Austria is still evident, and will always be, along with the pleasure of serving other people and fulfilling their expectations.