Numerous field trips combine cultural experience with technical highlights. All FTs deal with interesting local avalanche related problems and their solutions.

All field trips take place on Wednesday 10th of October 2018. At the same time as the excursions, the public day will be held in the Congress Innsbruck.

FTs are limited in the number of participants and registration within the normal registration process (first comes, first serves) is obligatory.
Most FTs are held in English. Translation into English will be provided for all German-speaking FTs.

 

Nr.

Field Trip

Location

Time

Language

Costs

FT1

Ski resort safety management

Innsbruck Nordkette

half-day:
08:00 - 12:00

English

25 €

FT2

Integral avalanche risk management

Stubai Valley

half-day:
08:00 - 12:00

Primary: German
Secondary: English

25 €

FT3

Water and snow management
in modern ski resorts

Innsbruck Patscherkofel

half-day:
08:00 - 12:00

Primary: German
Secondary: English

25 €

FT4

Avalanche defense structures

Innsbruck Seegrube

all-day:
08:00 - 17:00

English

40 €

FT5

A history of multifunctional
avalanche mitigation

Galtür

all-day:
08:00 - 17:00

Primary: German
Secondary: English

40 €

FT6

Hazard and risk mapping

Innsbruck Mühlau

all-day:
08:00 - 17:00

English 40 €

FT7

Temporary avalanche control and
detection systems

Paznaun Valley

all-day:
08:00 - 17:00

English

40 €

FT8

Snow and safety management

Stubai Glacier

all-day:
08:00 - 17:00

English

40 €

FT9

IT networks and decision making
in ski resorts

Lech am Arlberg

all-day:
08:00 - 17:00

English

40 €

FT10

Transport infrastructure and
avalanches

St. Anton am Arlberg

all-day:
08:00 - 17:00

English

40 €

 

 

Ski resort safety management

Nordkette is the name of the mountain chain located north of Innsbruck. The Nordkette Ski Resort, just above the city, is directly accessible via cable car from Innsbruck’s center, from where one can travel to the highest point (Hafelekar at 2250 m a.s.l.) in approximately 40 min. Once at the top, visitors have a spectacular view over the Inn Valley and as far south as the Dolomites. In wintertime, the steep slopes of the Nordkette give rise to avalanche danger, affecting skiers and local residents alike, thus requiring a continuous and professional safety management. Participants of this excursion will visit the ski area and learn about the transport management, avalanche mitigation, access control, as well as the well-planned guidance system for the local recreation area on the Nordkette.

Means of transportation / required equipment
Short ride with public transport (bus / funicular), mostly hiking on trails / gravel roads; p
lease bring hiking shoes, rain coat and appropriate clothing    

   

Integral avalanche risk management

The Stubai Valley is characterized by high-altitude mountains, which reduce the available living space to the narrow valley bottom and cause avalanches, endangering settlements and infrastructure lines. For example, more than 100 avalanche paths cross the access road to the Stubai glacier ski area, located at the head of the valley. However, only few of these avalanche catchments feature mitigation measures like snow bridges, catching or deflecting dams. Stubai’s ski areas and the picturesque scenery attract large amounts of winter tourists and thus a lot of traffic; the approximately 15,000 permanent inhabitants cater to almost 1,1 Mio. overnight stays every season. The excursion will visit some interesting locations and viewpoints along the valley, to give an impression of the challenges facing avalanche risk management there. The pictures below show how avalanche hazard affected a hamlet located in the inner Stubai Valley, which was eventually resettled and mitigation measures put in place.

Means of transportation / required equipment
Bus transport with occasional stops and short walks along the way;
please bring sturdy shoes and rain coat

   

 

Water and snow management in modern ski Resorts

 

The Patscherkofel is an iconic mountain located south of Innsbruck. It is situated right on the doorstep of the city. The ski resort here is equipped with a modern snowmaking system that provides runs for all ability levels - from beginners to experienced racers. In addition, the snow park near the mountain station has been a hotspot for the Innsbruck freestyle scene and for guests from all over the world for years. Directly in the base area at 1.000 m a.s.l., the “Kinderland” is a perfect place for the little ones to learn to ski or to improve their skills with professional guidance.
Three days a week, slopes are illuminated in the evening for night-skiing. A new 10-passenger- cabin ropeway provides access up to 1950 m a.s.l.. The wide range of activities on Patscherkofel require professional water and snow management. Careful use of water and energy resources is one of the main guidelines for the ecological and economic success of the ski area. During this excursion, participants will be given an insight into the challenges facing the ski area operator regarding planning the snowmaking system as well as the daily management of snow-making andgrooming.

 

Means of transportation / required equipment

Short ride with public transport (bus / gondola), hiking on trails / gravel roads;
please bring hiking shoes, raincoat and appropriate clothing

   

Avalanche defense structures

Innsbruck, the provincial capital of Tyrol is endangered by ten avalanches paths. The past events cadaster shows that some avalanches have reached outskirts of the city. After a big avalanche in 1935, the Austrian Avalanche Service started building mitigation measures in different avalanche paths. In the runout area of the Arzleralm Avalanche, avalanche breaking mounds and small dams were erected. After the avalanche events in 1968, the avalanche catching dam was enlarged to its current height of 25 m. Some steel supporting structures were constructed in the release areas of the Rastlboden, Gerlehner and Gerschrofen Avalanches. In the avalanche path of the Mühlauer-klamm Avalanche, two avalanche breakers have been constructed during the last years. Beside these technical measures, some afforestations were implemented to improve the protective effect of the forests. We will visit these sites and learn more about the avalanche defense structures protecting Innsbruck.

Means of transportation / required equipment
Short ride with public transport (funicular), mostly hiking on trails / gravel roads;
please bring hiking shoes, rain coat and appropriate clothing

   

A history of multifunctional avalanche mitigation 

The Paznaun Valley is located in Western Tyrol and will give the excursion participants spectacular views and impressions of Alpine natural hazards. Stops en route through the valley will show the scale of the challenge facing local residents to manage the very confined living space and compromise with intense touristic use. Shortly before reaching the village Galtür, we will ascend an exposed gravel road, which leads straight into the release areas of several large avalanches endangering the valley bottom (Wasserleiter-, Weisse Riefe and Großtal Avalanches). Besides visiting the steel snow bridges constructed in these release areas after the huge avalanche events of 1999, we will see an avalanche catching dam at 2,500 m a.s.l. The view from almost 1,000 m above the valley floor down into Galtür will give the participants a good impression of the magnitude of avalanche danger to the village below. We will then drive into Galtür to see different avalanche defense structures in the valley, some of which date back to the 16th century, and are thus among the oldest avalanche mitigation measures documented in the Alps. Together with the major of Galtür, Anton Mattle, we will also visit some modern, multifunctional defense structures there.

Means of transportation / required equipment
Bus transport with occasional stops and short walks along the way;
please bring sturdy shoes and rain coat

   

Hazard and risk mapping

Innsbruck is endangered by several large avalanches originating on the Nordkette, a large mountain chain north of the city. During the search for historical avalanche data as a basis for the hazard zone mapping of Innsbruck, extensive documentation of frequent avalanche events of variable magnitude where found for one of the largest avalanche paths on the Nordkette - the Arzleralm avalanche. Using extreme value statistics, developed for hydrographical applications, it was possible to bring together the newly found runout data with well-known data of extreme events and thus determine the runout length of a 150 year return period. An additional challenge was the assessment of the effects of the mitigation measures, which were erected during the observation period. During this excursion you will hear about how the avalanche hazard mapping for Innsbruck was carried out. You will see and learn about the individual design and technical principles of the avalanche breakers in the Mühlauerklamm Avalanche. Finally, we take a trip to the top of Nordkette to see the instrumented snow net installations there and discuss the gained findings. 

Means of transportation / required equipment
Short ride with public transport (bus / funicular), mostly hiking on trails / gravel roads;
please bring hiking shoes, rain coat and appropriate clothing

   

Temporary avalanche control and detection systems

The Austrian state road B188 is located in the avalanche-exposed Paznaun Valley (Tyrol). Several sections of the road have to be closed regularly due to high avalanche risk. As the main economic activity of the Paznaun Valley is winter tourism, closure of the only access road are very expensive for the region. Therefore, several remote avalanche control systems (RACS) and two avalanche radar units have been installed for the protection of two key sections of this road, endangered by the Ulmicherbachl, Großtal and Hoher Zug avalanche paths. The participants will be visiting these locations and learn about the local avalanche risk management.

In the second part of the excursion, an introduction to the avalanche control strategy in the ski resort Ischgl will be given. The trails and ski lifts in the resort are endangered by a vast number of avalanches and the avalanche control has to be done as quickly as possible to allow a timely start of the ski operation. Therefore, the avalanche control team uses a variety of artificial avalanche release methods, ranging from hand charges, over heli-bombing to different types of RACS."

Means of transportation / required equipment
Bus transport with occasional stops and walks along the way;
please bring sturdy shoes, rain coat and sunblock

   

 Snow and safety Management

The ski area Stubai Glacier is the biggest glacier ski resort in Austria with 108 kilometers of ski-runs, 26 modern lifts and cable cars and a transport capacity of approx. 40,000 persons per hour. Partly built on an increasingly shrinking glacier, snow management is highly important for the existence of the ski resort. While until 2002 the glacier could also be used for summer skiing, nowadays the ice is artificially covered during the summer months in order to minimize glacier retreat. Besides the problems and risks faced due to global warming, crevasses still pose severe risks for guests and employees – alongside avalanches.
This excursion on the one hand focuses on safety management practices with regard to crevasse and avalanche hazards in the ski resort. On the other hand, it addresses the production and management of technical snow. Additionally, the Mountain Rescue Service Tyrol will present a bipod and a tripod for crevasse rescue on the glacier and will simulate a typical avalanche rescue scenario.

 Means of transportation / required equipment
Short ride (bus and ski lift), mostly hiking on trails / snow;
please bring hiking shoes, rain coat, appropriate clothing and sunblock

   

IT networks and decision making in ski resorts

The participants of this excursion will visit one of the most historical and famous hotspots for skiing in the Alps. From the origin of sporty and stylish skiing at beginning of 20th century to the development of the first avalanche blasting masts in the 80´s, progress has now arrived the digital age. Smartphones, social networks and IT communication are used in the Lech ski area to support risk analyses and decision making of snow and avalanche safety management. The participants will learn about the current IT state-of-the-art in Lech, and how cooperation and communication between different organizations in a very large ski resort are managed. Snow and avalanche networking platforms used by ski and mountain guides are presented, which are connected to documentation applications of avalanche commissions and ski patrols, allowing the exchange of data and human observations via apps in real time.

Means of transportation / required equipment  
Bus ride and funicular, mostly hiking on trails / gravel roads;
please bring hiking shoes, rain coat, appropriate clothing and sunblock

   

Transport infrastructure and avalanches

Linear transport infrastructure is the lifeline of Alpine regions. Roads and railways transport people and essential goods along the valleys and over mountain passes. In tourist areas, arrival and departure traffic often causes congestion, especially on the weekends. The Arlberg was already made accessible to tourism in 1884, by the construction of the railway line. Later, in addition to the Arlberg Pass road, a high-level road connection through the Stanzer Valley was built. All these infrastructure lines are seriously endangered by avalanches. The participants of this excursion will be introduced to the organizational avalanche protection concepts of the infrastructure operators and tourism communities in the Stanzer Valley, Western Tyrol. The avalanche warning service of the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB), the ASFiNAG expressway administration, the provincial road administration as well as the largest tourism community in the Stanzer valley, Sankt Anton am Arlberg, will present their common approach to assess avalanche danger. The use of Alpine meteorological data and various mitigation measures are also discussed during the field trip.

Means of transportation / required equipment
Bus transport with occasional stops and short walks along the way;
please bring sturdy shoes and rain coat

  

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