Dear snow and avalanche enthusiast,
dear ÖGSL member,
the snow has already retreated quite far into the mountains, the valley turns green and the powder skis have migrated to the basement. The winter has taken off on schedule. At times it seemed last season that it had never really settled in…
Anyway – at least from the perspective of ÖGSL the past winter season was a fruitful and productive time.
In this newsletter we take a short look back and summarize the highlights since our last newsletter. Of course, an outlook should not be missing either. And for those who can’t make it to the end: Our Annual Spring Meeting will take place on Friday, May 13 at BFW in Innsbruck. Here is the link to the event. We are looking forward to your participation on site and online.
Topics of this newsletter:
Review, Projects, Partners, Events, Job openings
What has happened since the last newsletter in January?
As it has become a tradition at ÖGSL, there was also a Schnee.Semmelnar on the first Monday of each month this past winter. At the end of April the second ÖGSL workshop was organized and in spring there were also two new episodes of the American ‘The Avalanche Hour’ podcast.
- As always, all Schnee. Semmelnars and workshops can be found in the ÖGSL library.
In January, Silke Griesser from BOKU Vienna told us about her master’s thesis, where she measured the force exerted during compression tests and used it to draw conclusions about the load – but also the differences between testers.
In February it was Norbert Span from Idee GmbH who took us on an exciting journey of a snow crystal. Norbert Span has been passionately photographing snow crystals for decades, artistically showcasing their beauty and diversity. Following our Semmelnar, Bergundsteigen has published a short article on Norbert’s creative work and the life cycle of a snow crystal.
Leon Bührle from the SLF Davos reported in the March Semmelnar about his master thesis on the topic of snow height mapping using aircraft imagery. Again, more than 40 people attended this very specific topic live, which speaks for the definitely great interest for the Semmelnare – and of course makes us extremely happy.
With Johan Gaume from EPFL Lausanne, we were able to get a special international guest for a lecture in April. Johan has set a milestone in our field in recent years for his snow and avalanche simulations in collaboration with Disney, but especially for his Nature publication on the Djatlow Pass mystery. In our Schnee.Semmelnar he reported on his latest research on “Super Shear Slab Avalanches”.
Missed an event? In the ÖGSL- library you will find all Schnee.Semmelnare and workshops for review.
The Avalanche Hour Podcast (THAP)
Already since last winter season the ÖGSL appears on the American, English-speaking TAHP. During the winter season 2021/22 three episodes with Matthias Walcher as ÖGSL representative and host of the podcast were published. Always on the show: Christoph Mitterer, who reports on the current avalanche situation. All episodes can be found wherever you can listen to podcasts (Soundcloud, Spotify, etc.).
Johan Gaume and his phD student Bertil Trottet from EPFL Lausanne were also the ones who gave a talk at THAP in May. Thematically it remained the same compared to the Semmelnar.
In another THAP episode in March, on the other hand, Rudi Kranabitter, a mountain guide from the Stubaital and long-time training director for the mountain and ski guides in Canada, and Albert Leichtfried, also a mountain guide and current head of training for the Austrian Mountain Guides Association, were the guests. It was all about avalanche training – a comparison between Canada and Austria. With all its controversies and with quite different viewpoints. It’s worth listening in!
The latest ÖGSL episode of THAP from May 1, 2022 with Johan Gaume and Bertil Trottet can be listened to on Soundcloud.
After very positive feedback on the workshop “First Aid in Avalanche Emergencies” with Manuel Genswein and the Austrian Mountain Search and Rescue Service, another workshop has taken place at the end of April – this time especially for regional avalanche forecasters.
The guests were Simon Horton from Avalanche Canada and Florian Herla from the Simon Fraser Avalanche Research Program (SARP). The event was all about avalanche warning in Canada and the operational use of SNOWPACK. The two-hour workshop attracted around 80 participants from a wide range of avalanche warning services, mainly from Europe, and was unexpectedly well attended.
The second workshop of the 2021/22 winter season focused on avalanche warning in Canada and the use of SNOWPACK. Presenters were Simon Horton and Florian Herla.
Our project to develop the ‘Snow and Avalanche Observation Standards’ has – not entirely unexpectedly – stalled somewhat during the winter months. Some chapters of the American counterpart ‘SWAG’ are still with our editors for editing and adaptation to our Austrian requirements.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have worked according to our planned submission date at the end of March. We ask all other editors to get back to us as soon as possible – so that the project is not swallowed up by the summer slump.
Next steps: Incorporation of the editors’ adjustments and call to all members for the review process. Stay tuned!
FWT – Snow Busters
In the course of the Freeride World Tour stop in Fieberbrunn from March 14-20, 2022 – which was co-organized by our sponsoring partner Open Faces – presentations on snow and avalanches were held for local school classes by our board members.
The lectures were very well received by the kids – it can be assumed that against their will they even have learned something!
Snow and avalanche talk for school classes in the course of the FWT stop in Fieberbrunn.
The Snow.Kids project deals with the childlike fascination with snow and ice & the risk of avalanches. In the course of the Snow.Kids project – where knowledge transfer to children and young people is to be improved – the ÖGSL has brought in a very own idea at the workshop from April 20 to 22:
In cooperation with the ‘Atelier für Zeitreisen‘, illustrations in the form of hidden pictures are to be created, which allow an encounter with the subject of snow and avalanches from a very early age and should remain attractive even at an advanced age. The state of knowledge and science is to be conveyed here in exciting illustrations. For all generations, for generations – and an age group of 2-222.
This is not really a project, but perhaps more of an extended service.
With the ASM 2022 as a starting point, an mailing list is to be launched where interesting information in the field is to be distributed – quickly and without formal demands. Something like this already exists in North America – some of you may be familiar with Karl Birkeland’s e-mail mailing list. Something similarly efficient should also be created here – and, again, to promote the networking of the Austrian and European avalanche community.
At this point we are pleased to introduce two new supporting partners of ÖGSL. With AlpInfra and Synalp, two consulting and engineering companies join our circle of supporters.
Both companies are particularly active in the field of natural hazard management and offer everything from avalanche assessment to avalanche protection measures and avalanche simulation and modeling.
Both companies support the ÖGSL with the small sponsor package. On behalf of the association, thank you very much for your valuable support!
We hope that both new partners will briefly introduce themselves at the upcoming ASM and tell us about their field of activity and exciting projects.
Our two new sponsoring partners: the engineering consultants for natural hazards AlpInfra and Synalp.
Annual Spring Meeting (ASM) 2022 & General Assembly
Date: May 13, 2022
Time: 17:00 – 19:00 (CET)
Language: German (presentation in English)
Registration & costs: free of charge.
The highlight event of the season is coming up. Besides all the formalities of a General Assembly, among other things with an exciting lecture on “Avalanche Warning and Avalanche Training in Sweden” at the beginning of the event and a social gathering at the end!
This time FINALLY in presence again – at the BFW in Innsbruck – as well as via Livestream into your living room.
Last but not least: There are currently many new job openings – especially at SLF Davos.
You can find all job openings in the job portal on our homepage!
At this point we would like to thank you for reading,