AspellDirectory NÖVSV Niederösterreichischen Versehrtensportverband: History

Written by August Traxler, pioneer of international disabled sports and founder of the NOEVSV.

Development of disabled ski-sports in Austria thanks to Lower Austria’s initiatives:


August Traxler

1947, Vienna-resident Herbert Matz, who was thigh-amputated, invented ski-sports for thigh-amputated people, also called crutch-skiing. One day August Traxler was informed about that on the radio. In the same year, he got to know Herbert Matz personally and also started crutch-skiing.

On behalf of ministry council Kollars and Prof. Opetka of the University of Vienna, Herbert Matz brought together all war-invalids who were interested in crutch-skiing at the Radstädter Tauernpass in 1947, to have a week of exchanging views and teaching how it is possible for thigh-amputated people to participate in Alpine-Skiing. (13 participants came from Austria, 1 from Southern Tirol)

At that time, there were no mechanical supports, like cable railways or lifts, to go up to the mountains in the whole area of the Radstädter Tauern. They used their crutches as help to climb summits like the Seekareck, the Seekarspitz or the Zehnerkar. The strains for those men were enormous to climb those mountains in several hours, for once riding it down. They fixed their equipment to ride down the mountains on their backpacks and on their crutches.

As you can see, those brave young men weren’t afraid of any risk, despite of their fate of serious war-injuries. They even climbed avalanche-threatened slopes just to take the challenge against their handicap. Those inhuman struggles to climb the mountains only with the help of their crutches should be rewarded in the following years.

1948 the Austrian Alpine Skiing Championships (for non-disabled) took place in Bad Gastein. In addition to that, the first Slalom for thigh-amputated took place.

Thanks to that Slalom and the participation of August Traxler at the “Drei Riess Rennen” at the Schneeberg, the “Göllerrennen” and many more events for non-disabled, the popularity of crutch-skiing suddenly started to grow. In order to that, August Traxler started to form a disabled-section in the local skiing-association for Vienna and Lower Austria in 1948. With the move of the ÖSV (Austrian Skiing Association) from Vienna to Innsbruck, there were also new perspectives.

A close friend to August Traxler, Sepp Zwicklnagl from Kitzbühel, who was shank-amputated on both legs, started to form a disabled section in the ÖSV. To have a financial background for that, August Traxler connected Zwicknagl with ministry council Dr. Benno Schindlauer, who was arm-amputated and a servant at the ministry of finance. Thanks to that cooperation it was possible to hold annual Austrian Ski-Championships for disabled athletes.

1949, there was a crutch-skiing Slalom in Zell am See, 1950 a combination of Giant Slalom an Slalom in Saalbach, also with arm-amputated athletes and athletes with artificial limbs.

Similar to the Austrian movement, disabled athletes from Germany (former BRD) also started crutch-skiing. A bilateral relationship started to grow, with Austrian participants at races in Germany (Berchtesgaden, Garmisch Patenkirchen, Oberstdorf and Hindelang)

1950 Ausgust Traxler founded the VSC Vienna as the first disabled-sports club in Austria

1951 he held beginner-courses for the VSC and for disabled ski-athletes from Styria in St. Christoph/Arlberg. Besides those courses he educated the French Philipe Bartez, who later set up the disabled skiing-movement in France, in crutch-skiing.

1952 August Traxler was trainer of the BRD-Nationalteam of thigh and shank amputated skiers in Reith am Winkel

1958 the Austrian Disabled Sports Association was founded.

At the beginning, this was just a union of the disabled sections of the local ski associations. After some time, the OEVSV’s activities stretched to other sports, like swimming, athletics, ball-sports, cycling and many more). With that structures, a participation in international competitions became possible.

1976 August Traxler founded the Lower Austrian Disabled-Sports Association (NÖ VSV) to give the handicapped people from Lower Austria the opportunity to compete in other sports than skiing.

First President of the NÖ VSV was Dr. Leonhard Riemer, August Traxler worked as executive manager.

With the opening of the Lower Austrian state-sports school in St.Pölten in 1990, the NÖ VSV shifted its central work to the state capital and opened an office there. With that move, the NÖ VSV gained access to all sportive sights of the Lower Austrian state-sports school.

After 45 years of honorary activity at the local skiing association of Lower Austria, founder August Traxler passed his function in the disabled section to his successor. Further financial backup is still made possible with Traxler as executive Vice-President.

In the years between 1977 and 2005, there was a strong development in disabled sports, with Summer- and Winter Paralympics, World- and European Championships. The management of the NÖ VSV provides the financial and material possibilities for its athletes to be successful in international competitions. The several won medals prove the efficiency of the NÖ VSV.

Today, the NÖ VSV is heading into a bright and successful future!

August Traxler 2007

Portrait of August Traxler:

  • Born 5.5.1928
  • Thigh-amputated since he was 17 years old

His mertis:

  • 1984 NÖ Sportehrenzeichen in Gold für Funktionäre
  • 1989 Goldenes Ehreneichen des ÖSV
  • 1993 Goldenes Verdienstzeichen der Republik Österreich
  • 2005 Goldenes Ehrenzeichen des Landes NÖ für Verdienste um das Bundesland
  • 2007 Appointment as NÖVSV President in Honour
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