Forecaster Blogs

Blog: Weekend Avalanche Preview - 11/21/2014 - Bruce Tremper
  With a potentially significant storm rolling into Utah for Saturday through Monday, here's an avalanche primer on what to expect: The day before a major winter storm is forecast to arrive, you will see all of us avalanche geeks out mapping the distribution pattern of the preexisting snow. Answering the questions: 1. Where is the weak snow?  2) How weak is it?  3) What is the pattern? The answers to these questions will tell you where we will find avalanche danger once we slam a slab of snow down on top of it.  Here is what I found in my fieldwork yesterday:    Last weekend with just a...

Blog: Kowboys Musings on the Early Season Snow - 11/20/2014 - Kobernik
It’s that time of the season when those of us who are brave enough to maneuver around the shallowly buried rocks and stumps are eager to get out and immerse ourselves in the snow for the first time.  As I age I’ve learned to be patient but I remember getting out on steep slopes the first chance I got.  I’d take the rock skis or snowboard out and descend through new snow for the first time not being too worried about clobbering a few rocks.  Often times I wouldn’t be too worried about avalanches either. But the start of each season is different and it’s never too early to start thinking about...

Blog: Winter Review 2013-14 - 11/10/2014 - Craig Gordon
Winter Review viddy edited by Trent Meisenheimer and Craig Gordon. Many thanks to all of you for your great observations, images, and content.

Blog: Preseason Gear Check - 10/28/2014 - Paul Diegel
This is a guest blog provided by one of our observers who, to protect his identity, we'll refer to as "Todd Leeds". Wise words. Most of us Wasatch skiers tend to put our ski gear away in the spring with the anticipation that it should be ready to grab as we run out the door during that first fall storm when there is just enough snow to walk up some of our closed resorts.  We typically throw on our beacons with last year's batteries and are ready to go.  This is also a great time to get rid of that moldy half eaten sandwich that has been sitting in the pack all summer.  This rush to...

Blog: Winter Forecast 2014-15 - 10/21/2014 - Bruce Tremper
It's that time of year again when all types of charlatans issue their winter forecasts, which you often see sprayed across the Internet and on tabloid headlines in the grocery store checkout line.  It's also the time of year when most every social interaction I have begins with "What kind of winter are we supposed to have this year?."  To which I always answer "If I could do that, I could be fabulously wealthy."   It breaks my heart to see their confused looks, so I feel compelled to further explain that weather is the epitome of a chaotic system, and as such, it's nearly impossible to...

Blog: Observations of Companion Rescue Practice - 03/4/2014 - Tom Diegel
Reprinted with permission from When we arrived at the Valhalla lodge a couple of Saturdays ago our group of 10 started our week with avalanche rescue practice and -  as always - it was a great learning experience for all.  Subsequent to that brother Paul spent a day in the Uintas with a snowmobile avalanche class doing the same.  We agreed that a bit of a discussion regarding avy rescue practice was worth a blog post.  It is important to shift the discussion from “beacon search” to “avalanche rescue”. New beacons are good enough that people with no experience...

Blog: Storm Analysis - % Change in SWE - 02/18/2014 - Bruce Tremper
When forecasting for any avalanche, probably the most important relationship is strength vs. stress.  In other words the strength of the weak layer compared to the amount of weight added on top of that weak layer.  With a depth hoar snowpack, thin snow is weak snow.  So when a storm approaches, I like to make a mental map of snow depth.  If the storm adds the same amount of weight on all slopes, then the thin areas should slide first.  But storms seldom load all slopes uniformly, so you have to do a little simple math.  Like I say it's the relationship that's important--strength vs. stress...

Blog: National Avalanche School Field Session - 01/31/2014 - Evelyn Lees
The US Forest Service and the National Avalanche School want to give a huge thanks to the host resorts of Snowbird and Alta Ski Lifts and to UDOT for sponsoring a 4-day National Avalanche School field session.  These sessions provide focused training for avalanche mitigation program professionals, and the complexities of Little Cottonwood provided a great classroom.
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Blog: I Just Cant Help Myself - 01/16/2014 - Hardesty
Chris Cawley, Alta Ski Patrolman and frequent backcountry observer, recently shared a great link from NPR about "free will" with decision making...that, according to author Sam Harris, "our brains decide a course of action before we know about it". I hope Chris follows up with a guest blog post... But in thinking about it, it may be that this is how we survived as a species - quick instincts and reactions - to avoid being stamped out by the mastodon or becoming a sabre tooth's snack... It may be a way to attribute why we dive into avalanche terrain - knowingly - (ah, that gets to the heart...

Blog: Avalanche in the Fairgrounds - 01/15/2014 - Weed, Pagnucco, Kobernik
Check out the Accident Report and amazing story ....... HERE