Current Avalanche Advisory


Friday, December 19


Forecaster: Keith Stebbings
Updated: Friday, December 19, 2014 at 9:27 AM PST
BOTTOM LINE: A MODERATE avalanche danger exists on Friday for possible human triggered wind slabs and wind drifts generally confined to elevations above about 8000' on steep wind loaded leeward slopes facing NW -> N -> NE regionally. The avalanche danger is LOW elsewhere. HOWEVER, expect rapidly rising avalanche danger starting Saturday morning and continuing into perhaps early next week as...   

WAC News

Human Factors local edition

Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 9:23 AM
by Julian Pridmore-Brown

As we near the end of the year and the beginning of winter, it's a good time to reflect on the tremendous amount of work we accomplished this fall. It's important for all our sponsors and supporters to know where your donations are going. Of course the website overhaul and retuning was probably the biggest single item in terms of time and expense. We still find a few bugs here and there, but it's running really well overall. In a addition to the awesome new forecast products, we are rolling out some simple tools to help us manage the "human factor" that so often shows up in accident reports.

Some of the behind the scenes functionality we added this year is a new safety tracking system for our forecasters in the field. Prior to a field day, a forecaster enters a Travel Plan on the site that includes times, locations, weather, stability concerns, and a communications plan. Once the travel plan is activated on our site, an email is sent to key people. During the day, the forecaster may utilize one of the ham radio links we established to call in a location update that is entered into the website as a status report. Using this system will allow us to better manage the safety of our forecasters in the field.

New this year also is a sign at the primary backcountry entry point at Anthony Lakes Ski Area. An industry designed sign gives backcountry travelers a heads up that they are entering avalanche terrain and should be properly equipped and aware of the potential dangers and red flags. Keith and I installed the sign in October during a visit to our weather station at the ski area. We have a second sign slated for the Salt Creek Summit area in the near future. 

Though seemingly minor, we are always looking for ways to help everyone maximize their fun in a safe way. Survivors often report that they were just not thinking about avalanches that day. We hope signs like this will help people think about the consequences they are dealing with in the backcountry.

Keith has worked hard to further refine our pro-observer network this winter. As we take on forecasting duties, we rely even more on quality observations from the backcountry. We identified a handful of experienced observers that are keen to help advance our mission by submitting observations from the backcountry. We are fortunate to have such a motivated and dedicated group of professionals willing to help. Thank You!



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Safe backcountry travel requires preparation, planning, and experience. This website provides you some planning tools, but does not attempt to provide you with all the information required. If you travel in the winter backcountry, we strongly urge you to consider advanced education. Please see our education page for information on local opportunities.