Item: Military weapons for avalanche control program
Title: Military weapons for avalanche control program
Proceedings: 1990 International Snow Science Workshop, Bigfork, Montana USA, October 9-13
Authors: Doug Abromeit
Abstract: Military weapons were first used to control avalanches in North America in 1949 at Alta Ski Area, Utah and Berthoud Pass, Colorado. Military weapons proved remarkably successful and use quickly expanded; today, thirteen Forest Service permitted ski areas, five state departments of transportation, one state owned railroad, the British Colombia Department of Highways, Parks Canada, and several private operations mostly use 75mm and 105mm recoilless rifles for avalanche control. Many of these users literally depend upon 75mm and 105mm recoilless rifles, last manufactured in the late 1940 's and early 1950's, for public safety and economic viability; unfortunately, only about a five year supply of these weapons and ordnance exist. A coalition of Canadian and American users have formed in a effort to keep the program alive. The coalition's objectives include agreeing on methods to best prolong the current program, researching military and non-military alternatives to the current program, and developing a long term future program. The coalition has considered many alternatives including additional military weapons, privately manufacturing weapons and ordnance, Avalaunchers and other gas powered explosive propellant devices, the Gaz-Ex propane explosive device, and the Bolt Tech high pressure air gun.
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Keywords: forest service, ski areas, control, military, weapons, gaz-ex
Digital Abstract Not Available