Too cool 4 school
Finally! Summer break is almost here! And once the last exams have been taken and the marks are just about to be transferred into the report cards, it is time for project weeks, sports weeks and class trips. Saalbach Hinterglemm has an amazing selection of youth hostels on offer, and the wide-ranging summer sports programme in the valley head is guaranteed to turn any school trip into a proper adventure!
Saalbach Stories met up with Reini Bauböck, the Home of Lässig’s outdoors specialist. Ten years ago, he helped launch the High Rope Park in the valley head, collaborated with the Lindlingalm to create the “Golden Gate Bridge of the Alps” and made it possible for families to explore the region’s tree-tops with the popular Tree-Top Trail. Reini Bauböck can’t imagine a life without adventures and youth sports, and thus he has created a special activity package just for class trips. At “Abenteuerwelt Bauböck”, kids not only get to experience the valley head’s most popular attractions — like the High Rope Park, the Mega Flying Fox or the Jump & Slide Park — but with awesome group activities across the whole valley, class cohesion and community are also strengthened at the same time.
Team building with classmates
“Bring the board over here! And now quickly make a knot!”, a red-headed, supposedly shy boy calls out. He was declared the raft building team leader and appears to flourish with all the responsibility. Still, the rafts put together by the teams under immense pressure at the shore of the idyllic reservoir do look a little shaky. The clock is ticking, and the task only complete if the raft stays in one piece and if the team manages to cross over to the other side of the lake while standing. Cheers can be heard when the red-headed boy’s team is the first to make it through the finish line. But the other classmates still have the chance to earn their own cheers, for there are many more group-based games waiting for them.
Adventures for every courage level
There is another group that is just getting ready for a trip down to the gorge. While canyoning, they hike along the Vogelalpgraben valley’s watercourse. A little more courage and stamina are needed for the abseiling part and then the swim in the ice-cold whitewater. Another one of the programmes is aimed at climbing fans and includes the Flying Fox, abseiling training, the Tree-Top Trail and the Niederseilpark. A further group is hiking up to the mountain along the forest road, each member carrying a “Bockerl” — a thrilling downhill ride with these awesome mini bikes is the perfect reward for the exhausting uphill journey. Around 15 expertly trained guides are there to accompany the kids on their wild adventures.
In collaboration with the tourism board, Reini Bauböck has created a massive package with all kinds of offers. “It’s my personal mission to expand and bundle the valley’s offers as much as I can. The Home of Lässig has got everything that an outdoors fan needs! And we cater to all fitness and courage levels, too. Whilst some get to let off some steam at Austria’s only Jump & Slide Park, others can put on their climbing gear and safely explore the dizzying heights of the Hochseilpark. Those who are especially brave can drop from a height of 22 metres at our newest “Freefall” station at the “Golden Gate Bridge of the Alps”. After the brief free fall, a hydraulic abseiling device gently intercepts the downward motion, resulting in a smooth glide down to the ground. Incidentally, our team building activities not only score with pupils — in the past three years, over 700 police force recruits participated in process-oriented training situations with strategic tasks.”
Actively experiencing nature
While the raft builders put away their life vests, only to accept their next challenge with glowing eyes, Reini explains to me, “Physical education at school is incredibly important. We have to take the kids into the wild and allow them to have these experiences of collaboration. No passive consumption, but actively being part of an adventure with your friends. Everyone needs to be actively challenged on their own level while the tasks are solved as part of a team. The resulting athletic challenges allow the kids to grow.”
Reini Bauböck is a sports fan all the way himself, and his family likewise has a passion for sports. His 19-year-old daughter is a triathlete and his younger daughter is also starting to express interest in this challenging sport. “Still, we mustn’t overload our kids with sports — much rather, we should make sure that their innate urge to play gets fostered in the natural world and that they have fun while moving. I have been engaging with the subject of physical education for the past 20 years and I am seeing a shift. The visual and electronic world is inhibiting children’s natural urge to move — let’s get them back into nature!” Cheers and laughs resound across the lake, and I realise it’s time for me to get back. Looking at the kids’ happy and proud faces, I say to myself, “With school sports weeks like this in Saalbach Hinterglemm, it would be pretty awesome to be a pupil again!”