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Karl Koller

The Hahnenkamm champion of 1946,founded the world-renowned Ski School "Red Devils from Kitz" and this Kitzbuehel legend, with his innovative ideas on ski instructing formed the heart of ski teaching in Kitzbuehel. Karl Koller was born on 16 April 1919 as the youngest of 10 children in Kitzbuehel. Even as a young boy he was fascinated with skiing, which determined his career significantly – first as a racer, then as a ski school instructor in Kitzbuehel followed by taking the chair of the Austrian Ski Instructors Association. Karl Koller put his life, heart and soul on the "Two boards that mean the world to me".

After Karl Koller took over as head of the ski school in the winter season 1949/50 from Sepp Sailer, he came up with an idea with the famous artist Alfons Walde. He produced free promotional materials for the ski school, posters, and among others the famous image of the Red Devils. This area of ski instructor clothing sparked Karl Koller to form a trend that was taken up by ski schools all over the world. The first school was known by only the red pointed caps designed by Karl Koller. They then decided that until each ski instructor should wear a red sweater. The Red Devils of Kitz were then formed and achieved world fame.

The ski school with Sepp Möllinger composed a song about the “Red Devils of Kitz”, which is still sung today. Jan Boon, the famous cinematographer made a film about the ski school. The ski instructors were not only so called because they wore a uniform red sweater and were "devilishly good" at skiing, the praise was also for the benefit they brought to sports events, parties and excursions. In 1953, the ski school had 85 teachers had a student rate of almost 25,000 personnel. 1969 was formed the name of the school "Kitzbuehel ski school, Civil Partnership" and is known as that today.

After 25 years, Karl Koller left the ski school and the Red Devils Kitzbuehel. Today the winner of “The golden badge of honour of Tirol” lives in his 91st year with his partner Ida in Jochberg Tyrol. They now make daily trips in winter on the cross country skiing paths and in summer walk up the mountains to pick berries.

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