Guide Jim Stanford describes the Snake River environment as he floats through Grand Teton National Park with Barker-Ewing Scenic Float Trips owner Barb Barker, right, and Lienz, Austria, Burgermeisterin Elisabeth Blanik. Stanford, a member of the Jackson Town Council, helped host a delegation from Jackson’s sister city July 3. (Angus M. Thuermer Jr./WyoFile)

Jackson residents recently welcomed a delegation from their sister city, Lienz, Austria, for a tour of western Wyoming wonders in early July.

The relationship that began in 1971 when Lienz native Josef “Pepi” Stiegler moved to Jackson Hole to lead the ski school at what was then the Jackson Hole Ski Area. An Olympic slalom skier, he had won gold, silver and bronze medals and helped the fledgling resort in the Tetons mature.

In the first week of July the Lienz delegation, including Mayor, or Burgermeisterin, Elisabeth Blanik, took in the western Wyoming scene by stopping in at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, touring Yellowstone National Park, and floating down the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park.

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On that excursion, Jackson Town Council member Jim Stanford, a guide for Barker-Ewing Scenic Float Trips took the oars as company owner Barb Barker accompanied the burgermeisterin. The delegation also was able to meet with Stiegler.

Blanik said the skier is still remembered in his hometown. His gold medal is encased in a display case in the town hall and visitors are immediately attracted to it, she said.

Angus M. Thuermer Jr. is the natural resources reporter for WyoFile. He is a veteran Wyoming reporter and editor with more than 35 years experience in Wyoming. Contact him at or (307)...

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