03.04.2017 | Lifestyle

Ian Fleming – Inventor of 007 and his time in Kitzbühel

A formative and intensive time in Kitzbühel

Ian Fleming was born in Great Britain in 1908 and died in 1964. He spent part of his life in the Tyrolean town of Kitzbühel. According to records, this time of the 007 inventor was particularly intense and formative.

From England to Kitzbühel - but why?

Very briefly, Ian Fleming left the Royal British Military Academy as a young man after moderate success in the 1920s. His mother sent him to Kitzbühel at the time so he could improve his German for a career in the Foreign Service. The young man took up quarters in the then boarding house, which is now the Hotel Tennerhof, and went to private school.

Bergpanorama Kitzbühel

His "Golden" Years

The Gamsstadt was already a popular vacation resort for high society at that time. It wasn't long before the young Englishman's reputation as a playboy preceded him in the town. Fleming himself described his time in Kitzbühel as his "golden years". Ian Fleming proved in his will how important the "wild years" in Tyrol had been to him. He stipulated that three people who were particularly important to him should each receive 500 pounds, from which they could afford something extravagant. One of these three people was Lisl Popper from Kitzbühel.

007 on the slope

Once a year Ian Fleming and his world famous agent 007 return to Kitzbühel. Already for the 10th time from March 13 to March 14, 2020, Michael "Gugu" Tyszkiewics and his friend Manfred Hofer, Element3, organized a celebration with a lot of elegance, action and style for all Bond-enthusiastic ski fans, who not only show their class a la 007 at a ski race at the Kitzbüheler Horn, but also celebrate all around. From the elegant cocktail party to the blackjack tournament at Casino Kitzbühel, everything is elite and exclusive.

Fireball 2020 - Michael "Gugu" Tyszkiewicz

Dear Mr. Tyszkiewicz, a brief introduction to the life of Ian Fleming in Kitzbühel I was already allowed to research, perhaps again in your words, how were the years of Mr. Fleming with us in Kitzbühel? - Kitzbühel was already a center of attraction for the rich and beautiful. But Fleming, who fell in love with a waitress named Lisl Popper, got to know the local ski cracks through her and became friends with them. He spent most of his time in Kitzbühel on skis, always accompanied by his friends. They awakened his fascination for skiing, which in turn is reflected in many James Bond adventures.

Many people here don't even know that the inventor of 007 lived here in Kitzbühel. How did you come to become more intensively involved with this story? - I worked for a short time at the Hotel Tennerhof as a sales manager. There I casually learned that Ian Fleming spent a lot of time here. I was surprised that no one in Kitzbühel ever picked up on this fact. After all, Ian Fleming is one of the most famous authors in the world and his novel character James Bond has the incredible worldwide popularity of over 90%. I thought something had to be done about that. That's how the idea for the Ian Fleming Ski Challenge came about.

Casino Kitzbühel von außen

Did Ian Fleming invent the world-famous secret agent here in Kitzbühel or does the story of 007 have several birthplaces? - James Bond has several role models. One, however, is Conrad O'Brien French, secret agent on behalf of Her Majesty and acquaintance of Ian Fleming, who also spent a lot of time in Kitzbühel in the late 20s. 

What do you want the event to look like in 5 years? Are there plans to expand with your business partner "Fireball"? - It is important to me that the „Fireball“ brings international guests and locals together. That would also have been in the spirit of Ian Fleming.  The race has to be challenging (my partner Manfred Hofer makes sure of that), the Black Jack tournament exciting and the parties really groovy. Then the atmosphere is right. A great success for us! Of course, there is still room for improvement. Our wish is to transform the city into a walk-in Bond film by means of staging, acting and decoration. Manfred Hofer and I (Mister MAGU Entertainment) still have many ideas on how we can improve the event, but that is, as so often, also a financial question. 

Berg Skilift mit Skifahrern

How did the name "Fireball" of the former Ian Fleming Ski Challenge actually come about? - The Ian Fleming Ski Challenge was a private event. The Fireball is a mostly public event. That's why we wanted to give the new event a new name. The name Ian Fleming Ski Challenge was a bit too bulky. Fireball is more catchy and still everyone knows what is meant.

Where did Ian Fleming go after his stay with us in Kitzbühel? Did he continue to visit Kitzbühel as a vacation guest? - Ian Fleming went into the British Foreign Service. He returned to his beloved Kitzbühel up to twice a year until the Second World War. He helped his girlfriend Lisl Popper, who had Jewish blood, escape the Nazis in 1938 and brought her to England. 

Did Mr. Fleming learn to ski with us in Kitzbühel? Back then in the ski school at the Red Devils? - It is said that Ian Fleming's ski instructor was called Oberhauser, was also Kirchberg and served him as a model for the villain Blofeld. However, this is difficult to verify. 


What is so fascinating about the story of Ian Fleming? - What I find fascinating is that Ian Fleming was initially considered a problem child and a failure by the standards of the time and his expulsions from Eton and Sandhurst. Kitzbühel  was his last straw, so to speak. The beautiful surroundings, the skiing and his local friends charged him with a life energy that enabled him to achieve great things. In principle, it's similar for me. Only I have yet to achieve the great.

Did Ian Fleming travel to other ski resorts for his stories? - Not that I know of.

Is there any contact with the heirs of Ian Fleming? - Ian Fleming's heirs, Kate and Jessica Grimmond and Diggory Laycock, have attended the Ian Fleming Ski Challenge several times. We don't see each other often but have a good relationship.

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