Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: May 18, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971935 | Print ISBN: 9781412966702 | Online ISBN: 9781412971935| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Joseph F. Patrouch
The physical characteristics of Austria have influenced the leisure activities and games in which women and men there have participated. Mountainous and largely rural, much of Austria is also marked by relatively long winters. These facts helped structure how Austrians play and played. Winter activities such as sledding, ice-skating, and Eisstockschiessen (a target game played on ice or snow and similar to lawn bowling) continue to be popular, and skiing has developed over the last century or so as one of the the national pastimes. The often scattered nature of settlement patterns with individual peasant and later farmhouses resulted in the centrality of the tavern or inn (Gasthaus) for social life. The relatively modest economic position of the numerous domestic servants or resident farmhands required them to board in their employers' homes, making the tavern even more attractive as the place for whatever limited free time these laborers may have ...