Venue Host

Excursions

The excursions will bring you to Davos, located in the heart of the Alps. There we will visit scientific research centres and field sites, enjoy a scientific talk at the historical hotel Schatzalp and have the opportunity to network with colleagues while viewing the beautiful mountain panorama. The excursion is included in the registration fee.

Avalanche history and avalanche protection in Davos

This excursion shows an overview and the history of avalanche protection in the community of Davos. At various points, structural (such as galleries, avalanche defenses) and planning avalanche protection measures (hazard zone plans) are presented. The excursion takes place in the valley, all posts are accessible via well-maintained paths.

The avalanche gallery serves as a safe connection to Davos in winter. It was built after the avalanche winter of 1968. New avalanche barriers are still being built today. These new structures protect the houses from sliding snow avalanches. These houses are in the red avalanche zone. The houses were reinforced so that they would not be destroyed by an avalanche. The residents will be evacuated when there is a danger of avalanches.

In the avalanche winter of 1968, the village avalanche penetrated very far into the built-up/populated area. You will hear what has been done for safety since then.

Ski area rescue center tour

During this excursion, we will visit the SOS center of Davos Jakobshorn by funicular (2590 m asl). The center is in charge of the security of ski slopes, the evacuation of gondolas and the rescue of injured skiers in the ski area.

On a guided tour we will, amongst other things, learn about how avalanches are triggered on purpose to secure the ski area and what happens in case of an emergency on the ski slope. We will also get the chance to visit the area of the runout of the triggered snow mass and to see the blast masts and blast pipes closely.

The tour will bring us closer to the daily business of mountain rescuers at the SOS center.

Snow and avalanche test site & Panorama Trail Hiking

This excursion brings us to the Weissfluhjoch, where we will visit the test site from the Institute of Snow and Avalanche Research SLF. The test site below the building is their oldest test site with continuous series of measurements since the 1930s. It is equipped with numerous measuring instruments. Since the beginning of the SLF, daily weather and snow measurements have been carried out at the Weissfluhjoch test site. It is the only place in the world at this altitude for which such a continuous series of measurements over 80 years old exists. The facilities in the experimental field are constantly being extended and expanded. They operate and use most of the sensors and test setups listed below themselves. However, some systems come from partner institutions and industry. They use the Weissfluhjoch test site as a location for calibrations, tests and test setups. This results in a good comparison with the established measurement methods and sensors.

From the test site we will then enjoy a beautiful 2-hours hike via the Panorama trail to the Hotel Schatzalp. For this excursion a good fitness and trekking shoes are required.

Afforestation site research along the Stillberg hike

In this excursion, we take the funicular to the Jakobshorn (2590 m asl) and hike down on small trails to the little ancient hamlet Teufi in the Dischma valley at 1700 m asl. At the Stillberg, a German word for “silent mountain”, we pass the alpine zone with block glaciers, cross the alpine treeline and walk down through an old-growth subalpine forest to the magnificent valley floor. Along the way, we will discuss results of a 45-year long afforestation study at treeline and various ecosystem manipulation experiments studying the effects of elevated atmospheric CO2, nutrient fertilization and warmer climatic conditions. Good hiking shoes and adequate clothes are required.

https://www.slf.ch/en/about-the-slf/instrumented-field-sites-and-laboratories/mountain-ecosystem-research-sites/stillberg-afforestation-research.html

Guided Tour at the Institute of Snow and Avalanche Research

During this excursion we will visit the Institute of Snow and Avalanche Research SLF and take a look behind the scenes. The tour starts with a 15-minute multimedia presentation of SLF activities and fields of research. You are then shown various areas of the institute and given an immediate insight into the everyday work of our researchers.

This venue is wheel chair accessible.

Forest ecosystem research site

This excursion brings us to the Davos-Seehornwald research site which is located in the eastern part of Switzerland in a subalpine forest at 1640 m asl and mainly consists of Norway spruce trees, which are about 30 meters tall and up to 450 years old. Here, scientists investigate how air pollution and climate change affect forest health, growth and development as well as the forest’s greenhouse gas budget. The first CO2 flux measurements started already in 1995 and the site is one of the oldest ecosystem flux sites globally (continuous eddy covariance flux data since 1997).

The owner of the site is the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). Today, it is used by the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), ETH Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) and is part of well-known national and international research networks. This joint effort of measurements allows Davos to be the only subalpine Class 1 forest site within the European Research Infrastructure ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observation System).

In this excursion, we will get a brief overview of the station as well as its environmental surroundings and we present some interesting scientific observations from long-term research. The excursion includes an easy hike through the Seehornwald, therefore trekking shoes are required.

Geological excursion: Ophiolites hike

This excursion will show us the Jurassic-Cretaceous seafloor of the alpine Tethys (Klosters-Davis, eastern Switzerland). The upper Pennine and lower Austroalpine nappes in eastern Switzerland offer insight into a Jurassic continent-ocean transition. Serpentinized peridotites formed the Upper Jurassic ocean floor and a pelagic sedimentary succession of Late Jurassic and early Cretaceous age covered serpentinites and associated ophicalcites. This excursion will bring us to outcrops of serpentinites, ophicalcites, radiolarian chert and pelagic limestones. We will have the opportunity to study relationships between serpentinites and associated ophicalcites. Ophicalcites record multiphase Upper Jurassic hydrothermal and tectono-sedimentary activity. We also will visit an outcrop with hydrothermally altered radiolarian chert overlaying ophicalcites.

This excursion will start on Gotschnagrat (2281 m asl) above Klosters. An easy 3hrs mountain hike will bring us to the Parsennhütte (2200 m asl) and later to Davos-Wolfgang (1625 m asl) where we will catch a train to Davos. We will have superb views of the Austroalpine-Pennine nappe pile and of the Davos landscape shaped by glacial activity and a late glacial “Bergsturz”.

Please bring hiking shoes and suitable clothes for mountain hikes.

Casanna (Austroalpine) and Gotschnagrat to the right (Upper Pennine nappe), the fieldtrip will follow a path at the foot of the Casanna

Schwarzhorn, Totalp with serpentinized periodites and red-coloured ophicalcites

Guided tour at the World Radiation Center

This excursion brings us to the more than 100 years old Physikalisch-Meteorologisches Observatorium Davos (PMOD WRC).  Since its establishment in 1907, PMOD has been studying the influence of solar radiation on the Earth’s atmospheric chemistry, radiative balance and climate.  On behalf of WMO, the World Meteorological Organization, PMOD hosts the World Radiation Centre, maintaining the World Standard Reference for solar radiation measurements.  We will visit the roof platform with its many radiation instruments, see the WSG, the World Standard Group, visit the optical lab and learn about PMOD’s climate modeling activities.

This excursion involves negotiating some stairs, but requires otherwise only moderate fitness.