Item: Evolving public uses and the general avalanche forecast
Title: Evolving public uses and the general avalanche forecast
Proceedings: International Snow Science Workshop, Davos 2009, Proceedings
Authors: Robert H. Comey and Christopher M. McCollister, Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Abstract: Improvements in equipment and easy access from ski resorts and mountain highways are changing backcountry travel habits. Extreme terrain that was historically only accessed by experienced alpinists during stable conditions is now frequented by free riders on a routine basis. A growing number of the public’s primary interest is skiing or riding steep couloirs, cliff areas and major avalanche paths. Less experienced members of this group are often resort based skiers who are in the early stages of developing avalanche hazard assessment skills. The Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center (BTAC) has issued daily general avalanche hazard advisories since the mid 1970’s. Although these advisories include morning and afternoon avalanche hazard level ratings for specific elevations, they are general in nature. The information issued by the center is an essential resource for this important user group. As the avalanche hazard decreases forecasters are increasingly challenged to communicate to these users that although mostly stable conditions exists the “general avalanche hazard rating” should not be applied to extreme terrain where slope specific knowledge and expert avalanche hazard assessment skills are always required. To address this challenge the BTAC is partnering with a local company to produce a short film that addresses this important topic. This film will be linked to the center’s website and shown at avalanche awareness.
Keywords: avalanche hazard forecast, extreme terrain, avalanche awareness
Digital Abstract Not Available