Aperschnalzen (aper = free of snow), tradition involving the rhythmic snapping and cracking of a whip up to 4 m in length (called "Goassl" in dialect); takes place at the end of January and early February every 3rd year on a predetermined date in a town in the Flachgau region of the province of Salzburg and in between in the neighbouring Bavarian Rupertiwinkel region. The whip-cracking is performed in small groups ("Passen") of 9 members each; 60-70 of these groups usually take part in the "Schnalzen" competitions (first carried out in 1936 in Maxglan) as well as in public performances at traditional costume festivals or other public events (e.g. the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in 1972). The tradition of Aperschnalzen was revived at the beginning of the 20th century and is now organised and performed by the "Rupertiwinkel" association (founded in 1957 in Saaldorf near Freilassing) of Bavaria and Salzburg. Earlier interpretations which go beyond the athletic and demonstrative function of this tradition to imply a religious noise-making custom ("Winteraustreiben", driving off the winter) are unconfirmed. Introduced by traditional costume and culture clubs in Linz in 1925 after the Bavarian model.
Further reading: E. Mueller, Der Brauch des Aperschnalzen, in: Salzburg. Volkskultur 15, 1991.