Tuesday, September 17, 2013

SAAC - Snow & Alpine Awareness Camps 2013/2014

The SAAC concept foth the prevention of accidents in alpine terrain has proven to be very successful and turns 16 this winter. Since the founding in 1998 the SAAC snow and avalanche awareness camps stayed close to their philosophy to provide knowledge about avalanche fro free and easy to understand. The certified mountain guide Klaus Kranebitter and the former snowboard pro Flow Daniaux were the one who had the idea for the camps. Andreas Rauter of RED was the first sponsor to make it possible.
The "non participation fee philosophy" goes through to this day. The skiers and snowboarders only have to pay for their ski pass which they get for a special low price. The camp also includes rental emergency gear (receiver, probe and shovel) for free. No wonder that each year at the start of the winter season people virtually line up to register for a camp. Thousands of snow enthusiasts want to be one of the 50 skiers or snowboarders per camp and be part. Even though SAAC meanwhile provides 25 camps in Austria, in Tyrol, in Vorarlberg, in Salzburg, in Carinthia and in South Tyrol, it doesn't seem to be enough. Each winter skiers and snowboarders have to be asked to try again the following season because all camps are full at an early time in the season. SAAC has shown that alpine awareness has changed in the past years. More and more young people but also advanced skiers and snowboarders want to be informed and profit from offers like SAAC.
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 the 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.
Flow Daniaux had the connections to the snowboard industry. The partners from the industry were a grat support financially and mentally. This was also a reason why the camps intially focused on snowboarders, but skiers were always welcome. In the lase seasonsn SAAC tried to animate more skiers to participate. Flow as a freerider and Klaus as a mountain guide made the connection between the cracks of the snowboard scene and the off-piste-skiers with their image of being full bearded alpinists. In 1999 Bezi Freinademetz formed the legal background of SAAC and founded the association "snowboarders for saftey Tirol".
SAAC also tried to create another image for the young snowboarders, who so far had a bad reputation. Due to the close cooperation with the freeriding community SAAC became and "in" institution and avalanche education "cool".
There are many reasons for the importance of SAAC - the snow & avalanche awareness camps - for example to acquire or freshen up one's know-how and to check one's individual level of knowledge. Furthermore, the camps have developed into a meeting point for freeride fans from all over Europe that come together in order to enjoy the powder. And a unique powder experience is enjoyed best if you are well prepared.
With their education and experience the SAAC-guides know exactly what's going on in the backcountry and they show and explain how to react correctly in particular situations. For instance, checking your emergency equipement, analyzing avalanche reports and never going alone are some very important rules you have to be aware even before you start a backcountry tour. Once in the off-piste terrain, you have to make rational decisions and use your brain to assess aspects like snow conditions and the inclination of the slope.
A week-end at the SAAC-Camp will certainly not make you a backcountry pro - for that you need more education and years of experience. Participating in the SAACnd Step Camp is already a second step, as you learn how to oraganize tours on your own in order to explore new territories. You will always be accompanied ba a registered mountain guide who will give good advice. The focus of these camps that last three of five days is to gain more knowledge, personal responsibility and, of course, enjoyable freeriding.

SAAC basic camps
The SAAC basic camps are a two-day-course of basic knowlege about avalanches and the risks off-piste. In these two days the SAAC guides -all of them certified- inform about the dangers and how to behave in the backcountry. The SAAC basic camps start 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.

Participants at all SAACs have to be at least 14 years old and be able to ski or board off-piste. Attention: This is not a skiing or snowboarding lesson but an avalanche course. Per camp 50 people are allowed to participate.

Theoretical part (1st day)

- Equipment
- Types of avalanches
- Weather
- Terrain
- European danger scale
- Group dynamics

What to bring:
- About 3 hours of time

Practical part (2nd day)

- how to get a weather report
- how to get an avalanche report
- risk management
- terrain check
- danger check
- risk judgement
- how to behave off-piste
- how to use emergency gear
- what to do in case of an emergency
- how to help somebody entomed

What to bring:
- your snowboarding or skiing gear
- a backpack to carry shovel and probe

You can get a liftpass for the practical part at a lower rate at the time of registration. Please state immeadiatly at registration if you need a liftpass or if you already have one. Liftpasses habe to be paid at registration.

Follow the link and choos a date and location that fits you. At the end of each camp-site you'll find the "Anmeldung"-button. click to register

The camps are normally held in German. Some of the camps will be held in German and English. Please contact our office at office@saac.at. More information and camp dates here

Beginning the 15th of October. all SAAC dates of the season are online available and registration is open. As SAAC has experienced a big crowd of interested people in the past years on the beginning of registration, nowadays on e has to apply for participation rather than just register. This comes from many skiers and snowboarders wanting to participate each season again and again and leaving many others who never had the chance to be at an SAAC in the long line behind. Therefore SAAC assigns people who have applied to a camp which still has capacity. People can then decide if they want to participate or not. There's no second chance and many others waiting of a free spot.

SAAC Basic Campcalender per 9th September 2013
- Stubaier glacier I: 16th/17th November 2013
- Pitztaler glacier: 30th Nov./1st December 2013
- Kühtai: 07th/08th December 2013
- Warth-Schröcken I: 14th/15th December 2013
- St. Anton am Arlberg: 14th/15th December 2013
- Hochfügen I: 21st/22nd December 2013
- Axamer Lizum I: 21st/22nd December 2013
- Westendorf: 11th/12th January 2014
- Warth-Schröcken II: 11th/12th January 2014
- Wildschönau: 18th/19th January 2014
- Hoch-Imst: 18th/19th January 2014
- Nauders: 25th/26th January 2014
- Füssener Jöchle Grän I: 25th/26th January 2014
- Warth-Schröcken III: 1st/2nd February 2014
- Annaberg: 8th/9th February 2014
- Schnalstaler glacier I: 15th/16th February 2014
- Füssener Jöchle Grän II: 22nd/23rd February 2014
- Mayrhofen: 1st/2nd March 2014
- Nebelhorn: date to be announced
- Axamer Lizum II: 1st/2nd March 2014
- Galtür: 15th/16th March 2014
- Kleinarl-Flachauwinkl: 21st/22nd March 2014
- Warth-Schröcken IV: 22nd/23rd March 2014
- Hochfügen II: 5th/6th April 2014
- Obertauern: date to be announced
- Stubaier Gletscher II: 26th/27th April 2014
- Obergurgl-Hochgurgl: date to be announced

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