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The Third Man on the Arlberg

A Trip to the Netherworld of Oberlech with Gerhard Lucian

Duration: 13:30 – 18:00
Group size: 20 persons
Languages: German | English
Category: Walk | Dialogue
Location: Oberlech as a venue
Means of transport: Cable car


  • 13:30
    Meet and greet Gerhard Lucian at the “glass tent” in the park of Hotel Arlberg.
  • 14:00 – 17:30
    Find out more about the tunnel system in car-free Oberlech, which is unique in its design and hard to find in any other tourist resort in Europe.
  • 18:00
    Return to the point of departure. From there, your hotel is within walking distance.



The tunnel system in car-free Oberlech is unique in its design and hard to find in any other tourist resort in Europe. Each week, some 800 containers replete with supplies and suitcases are transported to the hotels by electric cars. The mastermind behind all this was Gerhard Lucian’s father Fridolin Lucian, who was initially considered a crazy nut. After many years of negotiations, the people in Oberlech decided in 1995 to go ahead and implement this visionary project. They invested EUR 9 million into an underground supply and waste disposal system. This is why we descend to the netherworld of Oberlech and discuss how weird innovations can become true. The tunnel system is the most unusual project launched by the innovative Lucian family.



Suitcases and supplies are loaded into roll containers at the valley station of the Oberlech cable car and transported by ropeway to the mountain station. From there, they continue their journey underground to the hotels. We explore these logistical routes in Oberlech together with Gerhard Lucian.

The tunnel system required a lot of groundwork. As early as in 1982, Fridolin Lucian had the first plans in his mind’s eye, but it took fifteen years to convince everyone else. His son Gerhard supported him in this endeavour. Since 1997, Oberlech has been a car-free resort in winter and, with that, the best-booked spot within the entire ski resort. 1000 beds are connected to the tunnel system.

It is not only logistics projects like this one which illustrate how economy and ecology can go together. For the Lucian family, a mindful and caring use of natural resources has always been a top priority. The biomass heating plant which supplies energy to Lech is the result what Lucian family experienced when they installed the first biomass combustion plant for the Burg Hotel and the Burg Vital Resort.

As we stroll through the subterranean corridors, we learn more about the success of the hotels run by the Lucian family. It all started in 1961, when Fridolin Lucian and his wife Helga opened a tiny restaurant with terrace in the family-owned barn in Oberlech. Today, this restaurant is the famous Burghotel, which is managed in the second and third generation by Gerhard Lucian, his wife Elisabeth and his children Christian und Marlene. Gerhard Lucian also runs a dairy farm at the hotel’s private Kriegeralpe alp.

When we re-emerge from the netherworld and bask in the sun on the hotel terrace, the hotel keeper will surely tell us more about visions he has to make Lech even more attractive still.