The origin of the name Saalbach is from „Salpach“, the original name of the stream running through the village.
From a poor farming village to the ski circus
Dire straitsToday the stream is called Spielbergbach and flows into the Saalbach. In 1350 the village name was first documented. Before that Saalbach was called “Clemb”. The origin and meaning of this name are still controversial to this day. Settlement in the area dates back to the year 1222. At least this is the first written evidence. Until 1500 at least 82 houses were occupied. In 1498 the village was granted market rights. This helped the inhabitants to maintain a small economic recovery, because the goods and products the farmers produced and the locals no longer had to go to Zell am See. Nevertheless Saalbach with Vorder and Hinterglemm stayed a poor farming village. The remote location in a side valley being the main reason.
First steps with skiingSkiing took some time to develop. In 1898 Josef Wallner brought the first ski from Mürzzuschlag into the village.
Gradually it came to the attention of the head teacher Peter Höll. He motivated many pupils at the elementary school to take up skiing. In 1901another teacher Ludwig Ramsauer also discovered the sport locally and took to it enthusiastically and this is how the two teachers became Saalbach‘s skiing pioneers. In 1903 Saalbach was discovered by non-locals for the first time as a skiing area (the free lawyers from Kitzbühel) But the older population and the council saw no benefits in the strange exercises. It took many years until skiing was accepted by the community’s residents. Finally in 1912 the Saalbach winter sports club was founded and pupils ski races took place. The First World War threw back all efforts for several years. Due to the difficult food situation even a ban on residence for foreigners and non locals was pronounced, which made winter tourism basically impossible. In 1921, this residence ban was lifted.