Experiential Knowledge Concerning Avalanche Risk ManagementApplicant:
Alpinarium und Gemeinde Galtür, Lawinenkommission Gargellen, Montafoner Museen, Österreichischer Alpenverein, Österreichischer Berg- und SchiführerverbandProvince:
Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg
The natural environment of the Alps forces its inhabitants to pay a great deal of attention to the highly complex phenomenon of the avalanche. Since the very beginning of human beings presence in the Alpine region, it has been necessary to acquire knowledge about avalanches in order to survive there. To this day, avalanches cannot be perfectly predicted or fully assessed by scientific means. Therefore, having experiential knowledge of how to deal with the associated risks is all the more important. Some of this experiential knowledge is site-specific and gets passed on by alpine organisations, within families, and/or by schools. In earlier times, such knowledge was acquired through close observation of nature and the painful learning process that avalanche disasters entailed. And for many hundreds of years, this experiential knowledge was conveyed and handed down orally from generation to generation. Since the beginning of the 20th century, and especially since the 1950s, such knowledge has been supplemented by scientific research. This has made it possible to successively improve the protection of inhabited areas and transport routes over the course of time, and today, knowledge about dealing with avalanche risks is taught and/or applied in the contexts of general safety, education, technology, and rescue services by local and super-regional communities.