While becoming a renowned skier in his teenage years, Schneider developed the Arlberg technique. The Arlberg technique quickly caught on, resulting in Schneider becoming in demand for demonstrations, films, and military training.
Following Nazi Germany taking Austria in the Anschluss, Schneider was imprisoned March 12, 1938.
In January of 1937, international financier Harvey Gibson purchased land on Cranmore Mountain in Conway with the aim to make North Conway a winter destination. Two years later, after lawyer Karl Rosen managed to transfer Schneider from prison to house arrest, Gibson leveraged his firm's German holdings and negotiated with Heinrich Himmler to get Schneider and his family released from Germany and transported to the United States. Following a massive welcoming party in North Conway in February of 1939, Schneider took over Cranmore and worked quickly to make it one of the best known ski areas in the country.
One of Schneider's first big decisions at Cranmore was to expand lift service to the summit, which was accomplished during his first full season when the upper section of the Skimobile was installed. With top to bottom Skimobile coverage, Cranmore was second only to Cannon's tram in terms of continuous lift served vertical drop in New England.
With the onset of World War II, Hannes was reportedly involved in the training and providing intelligence for United States and British ski troops. His son Herbert served in the 10th Mountain Division during World War II, earning a Bronze Star for his heroic actions in Italy. Following the war, Herbert returned to North Conway to work for his father.
In 1949, Hannes Schneider was hired to oversee construction of the new Blue Hills ski area outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Schneider referred to the ski area was "Little Cranmore."
In the spring of 1955, Schneider was actively working to open new terrain at Cranmore, serviced by its first chairlift. Following a day of laying out new terrain in what would become the East Bowl, Schneider died of a heart attack. Schneider's son Herbert assumed control of the Cranmore ski school and, circa 1963 started a two decade run as owner of the ski area.
Schneider's name lives on at Cranmore, as a trail (Schneider in the East Bowl) and the annual Hannes Schneider Meister Cup Race.
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Last updated: January 7, 2015
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