Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Snow and Avalanche Awareness Camps

The Snow and Avalanche Awareness Camps (SAAC) were founded in the 1998/99 winter season by Flow Daniaux and Klaus Kranebitter. Initially they planed to organise only one avalanche camp at the Seegrube in Innsbruck. However, the rush to the camps was so big, that they organised additional camps in Axamer Lizum and Sölden. Now SAAC basic camps are held in many different regions of Austria. One reason for the great success of SAAC is the fact that participating at a two-day-camp is for free, as well as the rental of avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe.
From the beginning on, the goal of SAAC was to give the participants of the camps a basic knowledge about avalanches and the risks in alpine territory and make them especially aware of the risks in the areas around ski resorts, where many skiers and boarders by mistake feel safe due to the nearby civilization.
The SAAC basic camps are a two-day-course of basic knowledge about avalanches and the risks off-piste. In these two day the SAAC guides - all of them certified - inform about the dangers and how to behave in the backcountry. Participants have to be at least 14 years old and to be able to ski or board off-piste.
Each course is divided into theory and practice. The SAAC basic camp starts with a 3-hour-theoretical part on the first day. On the second day the participants divide into small groups of ten people with a guide for each group and go out into the backcountry.
SAAC also offers advanced course to deepen your knowledge about avalanches and the dangers off-piste. SAACnd Step camps are offered as 3-and-a-half-day or as 5-and-a-half-day courses. Package prices include participation, emergency equipment rental (shovel, probe, transceiver) and accomodation.