I recently found myself chatting with a group of avalanche professionals about education take homes for avalanche safety students. We arrived at the idea of sourcing small snippets or ‘nuggets’ from the group that had strong, concise meaning and could be easily remembered. Perhaps a cleverly stated point could penetrate the dubious stream of sometimes an overwhelming amount of new information. What ensued in my opinion resulted in some great ideas; some new, some old and most
Merry Christmas, after many dry weeks creating a weak sugary snowpack the time of reckoning is finally here; we have a slab on top of it all. Yesterday (12/23) the upper Cottonwoods received a little over an inch of snow water equivalent with over a foot of snow and moderate winds and tonight (12/24) another storm is expected to bring another round with similar totals. As a consequence to the new load dangerous avalanche conditions will be present in the coming days throughou
One of the most common misconceptions of new students in the avalanche world is that there is a sure-fire way to determine is a slope is safe to ski or not. Many have heard about digging snow pits to look at and test snow structure and think that this must be their silver-bullet to success. In reality it is this myopic mindset that we perpetually beat back as avalanche course instructors, as digging in the snow is just one tool in sorting a much larger puzzle of uncertainty.
Just over ten years ago I went down to New Zealand to work what was then my second season forecasting and guiding in the country. I had taken a new job for a heli-accessed cat-skiing operation called Mt. Potts that operated on the land of an old ski area called Erehwon; a telling name as it is no-where spelled backward. It was quiet, as you would imagine and the mountains were big and steep. We just lacked one thing to get going for the season, snow. Week after week past and