Programs and Impact
Each day, a UAC forecaster arrives in the office co-located at the National Weather Service at 4:00 am. They record their first phone message summarizing avalanche conditions by 5:00 am, and a detailed advisory is distributed by phone message, radio PSAs, email, and website by 7:30 am. Updates are sent out during the day as conditions change. UAC field offices also exist in Moab and Logan and we forecast for Moab, the Uintas, the Skyline Plateau, Logan as well as the Wasatch Front.
Know Before You Go (KBYG)
Most avalanche fatalities happen to people unaware of the avalanche risk they face. Traditional avalanche education is technical and oriented towards experienced users and professionals. In contrast, KBYG teaches simplified, basic avalanche awareness, usually in free one-hour school and group presentations designed for younger users accustomed to fast-paced multi-media learning in plain language.
Each winter, about 15,000 people experience the KBYG program in 125 presentations and to date, the program has reached about 180,000 people. The Utah Board of Education has approved KBYG as a physical education credit. We believe that KBYG can take partial responsibility for the flat number of avalanche deaths in Utah in recent years despite a rapid rise in backcountry and sidecountry use. Other avalanche centers in the U.S. and Canada, as well as the National Ski Patrol have emulated the program, which also provides national exposure for winter recreation in Utah.
If you would like to host a free KBYG presentation for your group, please contact us for details.
The FUAC provides lecture and field day avalanche classes at a moderate cost. We address practical snowpack science, terrain management, rescue, and decision-making, as well as advanced topics and the needs of specific user groups such as professional skiers, filmmakers, and snowmobilers. We collaborate with other groups such as ski resorts and guide services providing guided backcountry skiing and multi-day avalanche certification and sidecountry-specific courses. We also maintain a collection of educational videos and a calendar of avalanche classes taught in Utah.
The UAC serves as the central resource in Utah for avalanche information, serving all forms of winter backcountry users and working closely with local and national media. The FUAC maintains the most comprehensive avalanche website in the U.S., with daily advisories, video tutorials, field observations, a glossary, media resources, a database of snow profiles, photos, videos, calendar of events, list of all avalanche courses taught in Utah, sponsor list, donation request, links to national resources, and more.
Professional Community Support
The UAC interacts on a daily basis with local ski resorts, Utah Department of Transportation, ski guide operators, search and rescue, law enforcement, and event organizers to share up-to-date information and training.
We host the annual Utah Snow and Avalanche Workshop for snow safety professionals and high-level recreationists to meet and share most recent avalanche ideas and knowledge. Modern avalanche science began in Little Cottonwood Canyon and we continue to lead the US in applied snow science and innovative avalanche awareness and education programs that we share with other US and international avalanche centers.