What we can learn from Colorado’s historically destructive avalanche year

JACKSON, Wyo.—With winter rapidly approaching and an early onslaught of snow, many of us snow-junkies are already thinking about what this year’s snowpack will look like. Last winter, the mountain west saw an unprecedented amount of falling snow, and thus, a really unstable and delicate snowpack. This Saturday, October 26 from 8;30 a.m.–4:30 p.m, the 5th annual Wyoming Snow and Avalanche Workshop (WYSAW) will be an opportunity to further understand the conditions, risks, and rewards associated with winter recreation.

Just like the previous years, a panel of experts will analyze past and present snow conditions, risk management, human behavior and how to weigh risk vs. reward in your decision-making process.

Jamie Yount, a former Jackson Hole resident and WYDOT Avalanche Technician, will be among the speakers at WYSAW this year. Photo: Jamie Yount

Teton County Search and Rescue is proud to present Jamie Yount as one of 12 snow-science expert speakers this year. A former Jackson Hole resident and WYDOT Avalanche Technician, Yount currently serves as the Winter Operations Program Manager for the Colorado Department of Transportation. Come hear him speak about last year’s historically destructive avalanche cycle that tore through Colorado, heavily impacting multiple tracks of forest land, homes and structures, and closing several highways throughout the winter season for over 3,000 hours. “I’ve been working in the avalanche industry for 18 years,” says Yount, “and last year in Colorado compares to nothing I’ve seen in my career. It reinforced some of my principles and taught me some new lessons.”

If you’re interested in going deeper into snowpack and behavior analysis sign up for the Industry Professionals Workshop this Friday, October 25th, which is available for free if you sign up for the all-day event Saturday. Don’t miss the chance to prepare, educate and refresh your knowledge on snow safety for the upcoming winter season. Lynne Wolfe, experienced back-country ski and mountain guide and editor of The Avalanche Review, will be emceeing the event.

Entry for this year’s event is $40 and includes all speakers, coffee and snacks throughout the day, lunch from Pica’s, and a swag bag from our sponsors. Entry also includes a free beer and apps at the WYSAW after-party at the Snake River Brewery. There will also be raffle tickets benefitting Teton County Search and Rescue with $7,000 in prizes including Dynastar and K2 skis, Smith Optic helmet and goggles, and apparel from Stio, Arc’teryx, Mammut, Black Diamond and much more. For more details go to www.tetoncountysar.org/WYSAW.

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