Utah Snow & Avalanche Workshop moves to Snowbird

The Utah Avalanche Center is hosting its 10th annual Utah Snow & Avalanche Workshop on November 4th. The big news is that his year is the first time the event will take place at Snowbird.

2017 Utah Snow & Avalanche Workshop

The 2017 Utah Snow & Avalanche Workshop moves to Snowbird for its 10th year. (Image: Utah Avalanche Center)


The Utah Snow & Avalanche Workshop is a gathering of the backcountry ski and snowboard tribe. Both the public and snow professionals from around the west gather to share avalanche knowledge. Utah’s workshop is one of many regional avalanche workshops, which are the most time and cost effective way to build and refresh advanced avalanche skills on a yearly basis. This is your chance to learn from from avalanche experts, and brush up your backcountry skiing skills before the start of the season.


The workshop addresses snow science, decision-making, the changing backcountry, and lessons learned from recent accidents. Attendees will learn from and network with avalanche forecasters, ski patrollers, snow scientists, search & rescue crews, guides, ski industry manufacturers, avalanche researchers, and more. The format will be 15 minute presentations followed by Q&A. There will be also be sponsor booths with the latest gear and giveaways.



  • 09:15-10:00 Open registration
  • 10:00-10:05 Welcome
  • 10:05-10:20 Utah Winter Review 2016-17
  • 10:25-10:45 Birthday Chutes Avalanche – A first hand account of surviving a massive avalanche and searching for your partner.
  • 10:50-11:10 Adjusting to a different snowpack in the Salt Lake Mountains- How a warm, wet winter created a coastal snowpack in many regions while Alta’s snowpack retained intermountain characteristics.
  • 11:15-11:35 Managing larger starting zones with a phat snowpack- A historic look at how terrain and starting zones change their dimensions as the snow gets deep and the challenges that presents to resort forecasters and backcountry users.
  • 11:40-12:00 Teton Pass Valentines Slide Cycle.
  • 12:00-13:00 Lunch

  • 13:05-13:25 Do backcountry travelers really need checklists?- This talk addresses the complex nature of decision-making, a variety of factors to track, and thoughts on how to build systems for beginners and experienced travelers alike.
  • 13:30-13:50 Looking at snow patterns like a pro- Understanding spatial variability.
  • 13:55-14:15 Thinking about the snow like a pro- Instability and stabilization after storms.
  • 14:20-14:40 Being Human: Going Deeper, Finding the Goods and Building Our Own Mountain Ethic- Using the “human factor” to keep us alive in avalanche terrain.
  • 14:45-15:05 “Where’s Your Partner?”- A look at current trends and an alarming number of “solo” avalanche deaths in recent years.
  • 15:05-15:20 Break
  • 15:25-15:45 Fast Times and Big Lines- The changing face of the Lasals.
  • 15:50-16:10 The Dogma of the Forecast- Why we can get surprised when the forecast matches reality.
  • 16:15-16:35 The White Heat Project- The aim of the White Heat project is to generate new knowledge on mechanisms behind risk-taking behavior in avalanche terrain.
  • 16:40-17:00 Advice to my younger self- A personal reflection on the role mentors played over my 48 years as an avalanche professional and what I would tell a 25 year old version of myself now.
  • 17:00-18:00 Social Hour.

    The 2017 Utah Snow & Avalanche workshop will be inside the Cliff Lodge at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

    Preregistration closes on Thursday, November 2nd at noon. After that, you can get tickets for $45 at the door. Lunch, coffee/beverage service, and post workshop happy hour is included. Purchase your tickets at the Utah Avalanche Center’s website.

    Utah Snow & Avalanche Workshop Poster

    The Utah Snow & Avalanche Workshop is the best way to brush up on new skill to prepare for the upcoming backcountry ski season. (Image – Utah Avalanche Center)

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