Project consortium: Ingenieurbüro Illmer Daniel e.U, Austrian Research Centre for Forests (BFW), Trumer Schutzbauten GmbH, Frey Austria GmbH

Supported by: Torrent and Avalanche Control (WLV)

Year: 2018


The Snowcatcher is a prototype of a novel avalanche protection system. It was placed at the bottom of an avalanche track at the present test site. When an avalanche impacts the Snowcatcher, sensors (e.g. bolts, shackles) built into the structure, record the force progression during the event.


The aim of the project is:

  • To quantify the effectiveness of snow nets. So far, there are no records of how a snow net fitted with braking elements behaves when impacted by an avalanche. Knowledge of this behaviour is necessary in order to be able to use the Snowcatcher purposefully in future applications. On a more general level, this project also delivers further insight into the forces avalanches exert on buildings they impact.
  • To find an optimal design of the structure, to be able to guarantee its functionality and stability. The progression and peaks of the forces caused by avalanche impact are recorded in the system. In addition, the event is recorded by automated cameras. With the knowledge of force peaks in the system, the proportions of the Snowcatcher, as well as its foundation, can be optimised.
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