Art Furrer

In 1959, a young man by the name of Art Furrer decided to leave his mountain village in German-speaking Canton (state) of Valais above the upper Rhone Valley, and seek his fortune in the United States.

As a ski instructor in New England, Art attracted attention for his unorthodox ski technique and acrobatic tricks. Ski acrobatics became known as “hot dogging”, and Art Furrer is recognized as its “father”.

After making his fortune as an acrobatic exhibition skier in the US, Art Furrer returned to Valais and the village of Riederalp above the town of Brig, in the shadow of Europe’s longest glacier, the Aletsch. He had big ideas for developing tourism there, and built several modern hotels, which have been highly successful, and were key to putting the village on the map as a favorite tourist destination. But Art’s innovative ideas, which departed from local tradition, often met with skepticism, and even resistance.

Today, Art Furrer is one of Switzerland’s best-known hoteliers and sportsmen. Now in his 80’s, Art Furrer is still active as a mountain guide and ski instructor, and still manages to put in regular appearances at his hotels, where he continues to give guests individual attention.

Art Furrer is a classic story of the self-made man, with a Swiss-American twist.