The hosts Anita and Peter

Our team

It’s something special to have such a great team. There is always a lot of work to do. One thing in particular makes us stand out, we enjoy our work and love to make sure our guests have a great time with us.

Our family

Let us briefly introduce ourselves: Thanks to my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, my husband Peter and I, Anita, run today’s Rübezahl-Alm with passion. (Read our story, you will be amazed!)

Clearly, we love nature. For us, the meadows, forests and streams are never far and always within reach. And of course, the stunning view of the Wilder Kaiser is fantastic. Another reason to live here, because it is simply the most beautiful place on earth. 

Thanks to our three boys, Leo, Paul and Gabriel, there is always something going on. After a long day of work, there is nothing that brings us more joy than enjoying the evening with the family.

Come by and get to know us.

Your hosts Anita and Peter with family and team

The story of the Rübezahl

The Rübezahl-Alm (former Kössler-Alm) is a nice small place which was built in 1778 at 1170 meters above sea level on the Hartkaiser. It was nothing more than a cowshed with a small room. In the summer months from 1778 to 1971, the farmers lived there with the cattle. In the small rooms was a lot going on, the cows were milked, cheese was made, bacon was smoked and they cooked and slept there as well.

When the Hartkaiser lift was built in Ellmau in 1972, the then 46 year old Georg (Schorsch) Salvenmoser (heir to the Kössler-Alm) had a groundbreaking idea. He wanted to establish a ski hut. Schorsch convinced his son Gerhard, who had been working as a chef in Namibia for three years, to return to Ellmau. He met his future wife Gisela (a German-South West African native) there and she traveled to Ellmau with Gerhard.

At the beginning it was anything but easy, because the drinks and food had to be carried by foot from the valley to the alm. They simply had one goal: to offer guests a good meal and no effort was spared to achieve this. It was a time of hard work and craftsmanship.

But having fun is also a must. Schorsch had a lot of fun scaring the children with a fake beard. When the forest ranger Simal came by one day and described the smell of the jagatee boiling in the kettle with the words ‘it smells like Rübezahl’s kitchen in here.’ The name of the ski hut was born: Rübezahl-Alm. Son Gerhard developed a great skill, he started carving wooden figures with a chainsaw. You can admire many Rübezahls and other companions.

Of course the hosts wanted to offer their guests something good. Georg, his wife Margarethe and their son Gerhard with his then wife Gisela laboriously carried food and drinks from the valley up the mountain. There was no electricity or running water and the delicious meals for the guests were cooked on the wood-burning stove. Wood was also used for heating. It was a difficult, tiring time, but the family also had many fulfilling moments and experienced a lot of gratitude from the many guests.

In 1975, Georg Salvenmoser died unexpectedly and way too early at the age of just 49. Now Gerhard and Gisela run the alm. Mother ‘Greti’ Salvenmoser also helps tirelessly.

Little by little, the family is able to make their job a bit easier with some technical equipment. A snowmobile and a small pistenbully are purchased for the winter months. These were used for the the transportation of food and drinks. The heating is switched to gas. The Salvenmosers’ two daughters, Anita and Petra, grow up with the habits of a hut family right from the start. In winter, regardless of the weather, they go to school on skis. In summer they usually go on foot.

At the end of the 1970s, a new milestone was set with the construction of their own acces road. So nothing stands in the way of building a home for the family and employees in 1980. Sleeping on folding beds and a lot of improvising is slowly coming to an end. In 1986 the long-awaited telephone connection arrived and in 1989 there was finally electricity for the washing machine, lights and television, much to the delight of the whole family. 

In 1990, after graduating from tourism school, Anita started working in the family business. Everything must be learned practically, from service to kitchen, office work and construction site in order to be able to continue running the business. Daughter Petra has been a passionate kitchen chef for 19 years, but she decided to take a different path in life. 

In 2010, Gerhard retired and handed over to his daughter Anita. She and her husband Peter are now trying to bring the Rübezahl-Alm up to date with the latest technology. ‘We have made it our mission to lead the Rübezahl-Alm into a new era. We want to be able to guarantee a great working atmosphere and a safe workplace for our great employees in all areas. Our environment is also very important to us, we live in paradise and that’s how it should stay for our children. We love our craft in the kitchen, which is why our dishes are homemade with regional, sustainable and high-quality ingredients.’ Anita’s hobby is her own herb garden.

The old kitchen had to be completely removed and was completely rebuilt. ‘We now have a modern, network-capable digital kitchen, cold stores with central cooling and a heat-recovery system and a new dispensing technology with cold storage. 

After 40 years, it was time to adjust the old way of thinking. Now it was up to us to establish harmony between the new innovations and the old rustic alm. Such a rustic alm should under no circumstances lose its charm and coziness. But we had to and wanted to integrate the latest technology. It took a lot of planning to achieve our ambitious goals. We are very happy about this decision, to have taken this step and to have shown the courage to change.’

Gabriel (Peter’s son) has two siblings: Paul, born in 2010, and Leo, born in 2011. With them, the next generation is born, so that the alm can hopefully remain in the family for many decades to come. All three are now helping diligently. Gabriel is studying to be a mountain guide, Paul would like to become a farmer and butcher and Leo is our musician and would like to attent a hotel management school.

Our kitchen team spoils our guests with Tyrolean specialties and many other culinary delights. Gitti (Gerhard’s sister) has also been there since the beginning. Our entire team, some of them have been around for decades, is very valued and always strives to serve our guests with humor and friendliness. 

And Gerhard Salvenmoser? He can still sometimes be seen as a host and is always available to give advice and support. Gerhard enjoys traveling with his partner Stefanie and continues to shape the uniqueness of the Rübezahl-Alm through his hobby of wood carving. The figures on the Rübezahl trail are there to show his artistic work and accompany the guests on their way to the alm. 

Whether it’s clearing snow or mowing the lawn, there is always something to do on our alm.

We have been a family business since day one and we want to keep it that way. We are not artificial or modern. No, we are real and cozy. That’s exactly the way we want to be. Countless guests thank us day after day for being who we are. We want to say THANK YOU for that.

This is the story of the Rübezahl-Alm, a multi-generational business with love, feeling for detail and pleasure from having so many guests. 

Enjoy your time with us!