Schweizer Alpen-Club (SAC)
SAC – more than mountain sports
With about 140'000 members the Swiss Alpine Club SAC is one of the biggest sports associations of Switzerland. Since its foundation 150 years ago it’s an influential force in the development of the alpine space and alpinism.
The heart of the SAC is the 111 sections. Here members and like-minded persons meet for common mountain experiences. The sections are distributed throughout Switzerland. The largest section has 7500 members, the smallest only 40. The work in the sections is carried out by volunteers.
Together with the central association the sections maintain a total of 152 huts. These couldn’t be more different. There are simple bivouacs for self-supporters and most modern mountain accommodations, sleeping quarters and single beds, huts without water supply and such with hot showers. They are popular either way: the SAC registers more than 300’000 overnight guests every year.
The SAC between the poles of protection and use
Not only the huts of the SAC are many-sided. The whole field of mountain activities is broadly supported. For decades the association lobbies for the preservation of the alpine landscapes and for a use of the mountains which respects nature and environment. But at the same time the free access to the mountains is a central concern.
An important sector is the promotion of top-level sports. Sport climbing has been integrated into the structures of the association since 1994, ski mountaineering competitions since 1997. The SAC organizes national competitions in both sports and is in charge of the assistance and compilation of the national teams. This is being practiced successfully: Swiss athletes are regularly on the podium of international competitions.
Formation and guides
In addition, the SAC is working constantly on the improvement of formation in the sector of mountaineering. With about 200 courses each year the SAC is the leading provider of training courses. That’s because mountaineering is an attractive hobby, and a high-quality training is an important basis for safety and fun in the mountains. The youth organisation (JO) awakens the enjoyment of mountain sports even in children and adolescents.
Last but not least the SAC has been publishing guide books about the Alps and the Swiss Jura for 150 years. Apart from classic district guides, which describe possibly all the routes and trails, there are tour guides for alpinists, climbers, ski mountaineers, alpine hikers and – since several years – for snowshoers and users of via ferratas. The SAC magazines also have a long tradition. Today the mountaineering magazine “Die Alpen” reaches about 200’000 readers in all Swiss regions. It is published monthly with identical content in German, French and Italian.