World Ski Awards has recognised the achievements of the Kitzbühel Wonder Team during a glittering Gala Ceremony in Austria.
The six friends - all members of the Kitzbühel Ski Club - grew up to dominate international ski competition, taking an unprecedented 27 Olympic and World Championship medals in a golden decade between 1950 and 1960.
Also honoured were Chalet Sirocco in Verbier, which took the title of World’s Best New Ski Chalet, and Nira Montana, which was acclaimed by voters as the World’s Best New Ski Hotel.
In a special presentation, the World Ski Awards Academy bestowed a unique trophy for Outstanding Contribution to Ski Tourism on Alpine ski racer Stein Eriksen.
A gold medallist at the 1952 Olympics Games in Oslo, Norway, and subsequent triple World Champion, Eriksen has since served as director of skiing at the Deer Valley Resort in the United States.
In a further success, the Stein Eriksen Lodge at Deer Valley claimed the title of World’s Best Ski Hotel during the Gala Ceremony.
Host Kitzbühel took the coveted title of World’s Leading Ski Resort, while The Vale Niseko was recognised as the World’s Best Ski Boutique Hotel and Sunweb took the title of World’s Best Ski Tourism Operator.
World Ski Awards managing director Sion Rapson said: “Congratulations to all of our winners tonight - each is an established leader in our industry and it has been a privilege to recognise their achievements here at A-ROSA Kitzbühel.”
World Ski Awards, the only global initiative to recognise, reward and celebrate excellence in ski hospitality, returned to Kitzbühel for a third year in 2015, welcoming leading international figureheads and decision makers to the Alpine resort.
A record number of ballots were cast by leading ski tourism professionals ahead of the Gala Ceremony 2015, alongside the votes of hundreds of thousands of ski consumers from around the world.
World Ski Awards’ Sion Rapson added: “Over the course of the last 12 months we have been inundated with reports from many of our winners detailing how their World Ski Awards triumph has directly contributed to greater consumer confidence, has raised ski arrival numbers, increased hotel and chalet occupancy and bolstered revenues.
“While equally pleasing and humbling, these reports have given vindication to our mission.
“There can be no doubt that the World Ski Awards winners are truly deserving of their achievements.
“Honours cannot be influenced and we are stringently transparent - each winner is quite simply the finalist with the most global votes and the sheer quantity of votes does more than ratify the worthiness.”
The full three day World Ski Awards programme included luxury chauffeur driven airport transfers to and from the five-star A-ROSA Kitzbühel, exclusive networking events, sight-seeing tours and a host of other networking activities.