Costs and benefits of DAV membership for foreigners

DAV LogoThe ski season is starting soon – I know you’ve been thinking about it. II didn’t go to South America, or New Zealand either – no sponsors and I’ve got a job and kids – so that’s how it goes. Over on Fakebook the whole world is getting neck-deep pow every day during one of the worst South American winters in memory – and the NZ season is SIIIIIICK, despite the fact that they NEVER get pow down there. (I have spies) I say this in order to reassure the 95% of us that somehow think we are missing out – because we aren’t. We’re about to start a great season of perfectly normal ski-touring, and you don’t need tons of money, a helicopter or an instagram account to do it. There ARE, however, really useful memberships and clubs that can not only improve your experience, but also take care of you if something does happen while you are “DROPPING” for your GoPro edit.

Dude! I'm gonna rip the SHIT outta this!
Dude! I’m gonna rip the SHIT outta this!

The DAV membership is one of these. Membership in the Deutsche Alpenverein (German Mountaineering Club – Loosely translated) is generally only held by people in Germany – but its such a good deal – and it does so much, that for some of you living in other countries, it is still a good idea – especially if you are planning a trip to Germany or the Alps. I also know that there is a sizable expat community over here who may not be aware of what the club offers. For these reasons – I thought I’d write a post for all of you….here goes:

First thing you should know is that the DAV, as its called, is more like a gym membership than it is like a Greenpeace membership – meaning: your membership dues pay for a number of services – you get something for your money – and its quite a bit!

Here is a list (not intended to be comprehensive):

Mountain Sports

  • A full catalog of training courses covering all aspects and levels of mountain sports
    • ex: Climbing, Skiing, Kayaking, Biking, etc etc etc
  • Attractive group trips and excursions with qualified leadership
    • all levels, from Kids programs to full-blown alpine expeditions
    • all over the world
  • Multiple sub-groups with special themes or interests
Glacier rescue course run by the DAV
Glacier rescue course run by the DAV

Information

  • Maps, Guidebooks and informative materials, either for free, or at greatly reduced prices, in the club’s offices
  • The DAV’s own magazine, delivered six times a year to your home, Panorama. Really high quality mag with interesting articles and information – but still only in German!

Huts

  • Cheap rates at over 2000 huts located all over the world – many in remote alpine environments (not just in Germany)
  • exclusive access to self-service huts in the German and Austrian Alps
  • Reduced prices on hearty meals at serviced DAV huts – of which there are many
This is just one of the self-service huts you have access to
This is just one of the self-service huts you have access to

Safety 

  • Worldwide insurance coverage while engaged in alpine sports through the Würzburger Versicherungs-AG
    • You need to read the fine print – but you are covered in case of accident – coverage includes
      • Rescue
      • Transport
      • Medical
      • Theft
      • Etc
  • Safety updates prepared by the DAV’s own lab
    • the last several years have proven these guys to be among the best in the business. They “discovered” several potentially life-threatening issues with sports equipment that have resulted in recalls and litigation
    • You additionally benefit through recommendations from this team which do not always enter the public sphere 

Climbing

  • Free or reduced entry prices to DAV climbing centers throughout Germany
    • Including Thalkirchen, Munich – which is the world’s largest
  • Special programs for children and top-level athletes at the highest levels of the sport

This list is big, but it doesn’t really show the magnitude and the breadth of their offer.

Climbing Center Thalkirchen - the biggest!
Climbing Center Thalkirchen – the biggest!

Here’s how to become a member: 

The office in Globetrotter in Munich - its one of several just in Munich
The office in Globetrotter in Munich – its one of several just in Munich
 Maybe the most thourough way to become a member would be to pick yourself up and get down to your local club section. If you do happen to be living in Germany, here is the Section-Search for all the locations. They are just about everywhere and you can ask questions and get information on the club dues, which vary according to section – from about 45 to 90 Euros per person, with special deals for families and multi-year contracts, and anything else. The difference in prices comes from the fact that some sections have quite a lot to offer in terms of courses and facilities – while others are smaller. All sections still allow access to the huts and facilities in the mountains though.
Even though you could save money by joining a section somewhere outside of your residence or planned area of travel – if you want to take advantage of facilities or training in your immediate area – it would make sense to join the section you live near – or are planning to travel near.
Since most of you living outside of Germany can’t just trot down to the local section and join up – you can still download the application here and fill it out (google translate can help you). When you’re done – simply mail it to the section of your choice and you’ll be all set.
That said – membership also is a way to not only protect alpine environments – the DAV is active in this regard too, but also to ensure that these environments are accessible for everyone. If you like to put your money where your mouth is – supporting the DAV is a good way to do it – regardless of the breadth of their offering.
See you at the trailhead!

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