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Adventure

From Lederhosen to Luxury

A new book charts the evolution of Austrian farmland into megaresorts.

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The book is a trenchant look at what Weski calls a “well-oiled leisure machine.” But the elegies are premature. Granted, there’s no shortage of fast-food chains and tourist-driven RVs in busy pockets, but plenty of uncorrupted mountains remain. You just need to make it past the male strippers. [$33; dewilewispublishing.com]

The contrasts are stark. A photo showing a field of sheep sits across from a shot of a media scrum. Another of traditional dancers in lederhosen opposite bethonged Chippendales. A field of haystacks against a bottle-strewn outdoor concert venue.

In his new book, Off Piste: An Alpine Story, photographer Lois Hechenblaikner contrasts modern pictures of big Tyrolian tourism draws, like megaresort St. Anton, with scenes of pastoral life in the Alps taken by Armin Kniely in the mid-20th century. Hechenblaikner, who grew up in Austria’s Tyrol region, groups the pictures visually and thematically. In their introduction, art historian Wolfgang Ullrich and museum curator Thomas Weski shed some intellectual light on Hechenblaikner’s excellent pictures, but it’s superfluous. The photos alone serve as elegies for alpenhorns and yodeling.