Item: Utah avalanches forecast center user survey and formats for avalanche advisories
Title: Utah avalanches forecast center user survey and formats for avalanche advisories
Proceedings: 1988 International Snow Science Workshop, Whistler, October 12-15
Authors: Bruce Tremper, Director, Utah Avalanche Forecast Center Dave Ream, Dept. ofRecreation, University of Utah/ Alta ski patrol
Abstract: The Utah Avalanche Forecast Center (UAFC) issues twice-daily recorded avalanche and mountain weather advisories for the Wasatch Range of northern Utah. The UAFC conducted a detailed user survey during the 1987-88 season to study the demographics of the users and to find ways of improving the service. Survey results show that the average caller is male, between the ages of 25 and 35 and that most are backcountry skiers with high levels of both skiing and avalanche skills. However, most respondents had higher skiing skills than avalanche skills. Only 3 percent indicated they could perform a snow stability analysis based only on snowpit data with a 90 percent confidence level; using all information including snowpit data, only one third indicated they could decide if the slope was safe with 90 percent confidence. Ninety one percent of the backcountry population surveyed carry beacons and shovels, however, they only practice 2-3 times per season. Results also indicate that the average caller often misinterprets the meaning of hazard categories used in the forecast--moderate hazard in particular. A significant percentage enjoy the challenge of traveling in hazardous avalanche terrain. The respondents overwhelmingly think the avalanche recordings are important service for staying alive in backcountry avalanche terrain, that it is a valuable service, and that they are satisfied with the product. Of those that are less than totally satisfied, the vast majority would like more information or more detailed information. General suggestions for the format of avalanche advisories are also presented.
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Keywords: uafc, weather advisories, survey, skiing, avalanche skills
Digital Abstract Not Available