If you’re looking for a good way to transition from your stumbling summer thought pattern into your winter thinking cap, there may not be a better jump start for your lobes than to attend an avalanche workshop. Avalanche workshops (like ISSW) have been around for years and are attended by avalanche professionals, patrollers, ski/mountain guides and anyone looking to expand their knowledge of snow. Topics cover such wide topics as: fracture mechanics, winter weather prognosis and recaps of historical avalanche events. In the shadows of the grandfather event, the International Snow Safety Workshop, many regional one-day events have sprouted up to address new findings and trends in specific regions of the county.
An eager room of listeners at the NRAWS. Photo courtesy of Craig Moore.
New this year was the Northern Rockies Avalanche Workshop, serving the Flathead Valley in Montana. The inaugural event took place on October 1st, and featured presentations from some of the nation’s top educators and professionals. Highlights included Don Sharaf’s presentation on Patterns and Behaviors of Different Snow Climates as well as presenter, Mark Staples, who focused on the ever growing mountain riding community of snowmobilers. In a region with an increasing number of backcountry users and resulting avalanche incidents, local snow safety professionals, Ted Steiner, Craig Moore and others took it upon themselves to launch this event in an effort to educate and create awareness in their community.
A week later snow geeks gathered in Leadville, CO for the annual Colorado Snow and Avalanche Workshop put on the by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. In addition to learning the latest and greatest, it’s great to catch up with our snowy friends after a long summer apart. Highlights from this years event included A History of Avalanches in Colorado by Dale Atkins and of course the every popular winter forecast by Joe Ramey from the National Weather Center. Results from the forecast? Best to keep your fingers crossed. While an initial La Nina can mean big snow for much of the country, a La Nina season in series usually brings average to below average snowfall for regions crushed by snow the previous year.
Don’t worry if you missed out on the first two events, the Utah Avalanche Center is hosting the Utah Snow and Avalanche Workshop on November 6th, at the Depot in Salt Lake City. They have some very interesting topics on tap for the day with some beer drinking to wind the afternoon down. Below is the line up of presentations.