The SAAC snow & avalanche awareness camps were founded in the 1998/99 winter season by Flow Daniaux (snowboarder) and Klaus Kranebitter (mountain guide). 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 an additional camp in Axamer Lizum and another two camps in Sölden. In Sölden international pro-riders of the Burton/Red-Team also participated and ultimately Burton/Red were the ones who – with their big financial support – made it possible that these important camps could be held.
From the beginning, 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 mistakenly feel safe due to the nearby civilization.
Flow Daniaux had the connections to the snowboard industry. The partners from the industry were a great support financially and mentally. This was also a reason why the camps initially focused on snowboarders, but skiers were always welcome. In the last four seasons 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-pist-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 safety Tirol”.
SAAC also tried to create another image for the young snowboarders, who so far had a bad reputation. Due to a close cooperation with the freeriding community SAAC became an “in” institution and avalanche education “cool”.
One reason for the great success of SAAC is the fact that participating at a two-day-camp is for free. It was the idea of Andreas “Junior” Rauter of RED to offer the camps for free. He and some other sponsors know, that especially with young people costs can be a drawback. The sports department of the regional government of Tyrol also supports SAAC financially.
There are multiple principles which originate from the initial ideas that are still valid at SAAC today. One of them is to create a new image for the freeriders, another is to offer education for free. SAAC wants to make the public aware of the danger of avalanches. Through the media SAAC tries to point out this important issue to the public and wants to show how much fun a SAAC is.
SAAC knows that there is a great interest in such initiatives and that awareness training is essential. Therefore SAAC tries to enhance its program constantly. SAAC basic camps are held in many different regions of Austria. Additionally in the 2003/04 winter season the SAACnd Step camps were founded. These camps offer the possibility to enlarge ones knowledge of avalanches and to be in the backcountry with mountain guides that are certified by the Austrian government. The participants of the SAACnd Step Camps will learn how to judge the risks and the territory instead of relying on others. SAAC also wants to create a group experience. Therefore the SAACnd Step camps are offered in packages including accommodation.
SAAC camp dates 2006/2007 season
SAAC Basic Camps
- Kühtai – December 2 & 3, 2006
- Stubaier Gletscher – December 9 & 10, 2006
- Axamer Lizum I – December 16 & 17, 2006
- Obertauern – December 16 & 17, 2006
- Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis – January 6 & 7, 2007
- Westendorf – January 13 & 14, 2007
- Mayrhofen – January 13 & 14, 2007
- Schlick 2000 – January 20 & 21, 2007
- Warth – January 20 & 21, 2007
- Zillertal Arena – January 27 & 28, 2007
- Kleinarl – January 27 & 28, 2007
- Galtür – February 3 & 4, 2007
- St. Jakob i. D. – February 10 & 11, 2007
- Axamer Lizum II – March 3 & 4, 2007
- Wildschönau – March 10 & 11, 2007
- Nordpark – March 24 & 25, 2007
SAACnd Step Camps
- Obertauern – December 17 – 20, 2006
- Mayrhofen – January 14 – 19, 2007
- Warth – February 1 – 4, 2007
- Galtür – February 4 – 9, 2007
- Innsbruck – February 18 – 23, 2007
- Kühtai – March 1 – 4, 2007
- Zillertal Arena – March 15 – 18, 2007
- Savognin – March 18 – 23, 2007
For more info and to sign up to camps online, go to: www.saac.at