Backcountry Travel, Snow Science, & the Art of Avalanche Forecasting

02.01.2021 - By BLISTER Podcast

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Today we’re talking about the science of snow, the art of avalanche forecasting, and what every backcountry traveler can be sending in to their local avy center to help them produce more accurate forecasts. Our guest is Zach Guy, who is the lead forecaster for the Crested Butte Avalanche Center. Zach has a master’s degree in snow science from Montana State University, he’s served as the director of the Flathead Avalanche Center in Northwest Montana; and he returned to Crested Butte in the fall of 2020 to take over as the CBAC’s lead forecaster. TOPICS & TIMESZach’s background in forecasting & snow science (5:40)Some different snowpacks in the USA (13:29)Different snowpacks in Colorado (16:50)How has avalanche forecasting evolved? (20:08)How has snow science evolved? (22:35)Inconsistencies between forecast centers (26:43)Snowpack modeling (34:41)Fracture mechanics (46:44)Zach’s forecasting process (49:52)What we all can / should submit to avy centers (57:39)Life & schedule of a forecaster (1:03:29)RELATED LINKS: BACKCOUNTRY TRAVELEp. 152: On Guide Books & Decision Making in the BackcountryEp. 128: Henry Munter on Avy Forecasting & Decision MakingEp. 119: Rob Coppolillo on Backcountry Travel, Education, & GearEp. 85: AMGA president, Angela HawseEp. 62: Paul Forward on Backcountry Travel & Wilderness Medicine
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