Friends of the Utah Avalanche Center – a 501(c) (3) organization &
2014/2015 Partnership Proposal
Utah Avalanche Center Mission Statement:
Keeping people on top of the Greatest Snow on Earth instead of buried beneath it.
What is the Utah Avalanche Center (UAC)?
Since 1980, the Utah Avalanche Center has been keeping people on top of the Greatest Snow on Earth instead of being buried beneath it. An average of four people die in avalanche accidents each year in Utah, making avalanches the most dangerous natural hazard—even more than lightning and flash floods.
Timely, Accurate and Easily accessible avalanche information
Our avalanche advisories provide users with critical avalanche information they need to make life and death decisions in avalanche terrain. We forecast snow stability, mountain weather, and issue avalanche warnings when necessary. Our advisory helps the public to decide when to go and what type of terrain is safe.
Avalanche Awareness and Education
Knowledge & tools to understand & manage risk in avalanche terrain
- Just as students in Hawaii learn about the dangers of rip tides and shore breaks at an early age, our Know Before You Go (KBYG) program is an avalanche awareness program for Middle and High School students developed by the UAC. On average, we present 100 KBYG lectures each year, reaching nearly 20,000 people per year. KBYG is accepted curriculum in the Utah School System.
- The UAC also teaches dozens of basic avalanche awareness classes each year, free of charge to the public, providing basic avalanche knowledge which can save a life. The classes frequently lead people to move on to one of the many available multi-day avalanche classes
- State of the art avalanche training for local snowmobile shops and their staff, Sheriff Departments Search and Rescue groups, State Parks staff as well as other snow and avalanche professionals.
- Ski, snowboard, and Snowmobile-specific avalanche awareness classes.
This winter we presented our very popular Avy Essentials and Riding Skills Class on three separate occasions. The three-hour evening class is followed by an on-the-snow day, incorporating lots of hands on snowpit, rescue, and riding scenarios. This season close to 100 sledders joined us for this unique workshop.
Budget – Good News, Bad News
Demands for our services increasingly outpace what we can provide.
Administered by the USDA Forest Service, the Utah Avalanche Center is the epitome of a successful partnership organization in which most of the funding comes from other interested parties outside the Forest Service. In these times of diminishing Forest Service and state budgets, partnerships have become the only way that many programs can survive. Private donations provide two-thirds of our annual operating expenses.
Western Uinta Avalanche Advisory
A full plate; over 1 million square acres, 1 full-time forecaster
The western Uinta Avalanche Forecasting and Outreach Program is in its 10th season. The approaches are arduous, making the lion’s share of the users mechanized. The western Uinta range is much drier than its Eastern cousin the Wasatch. Storms are less frequent and winds more extreme. Combine this with high elevation terrain and the snowpack is one of the most dangerous in the state.
The western Uinta Avalanche Advisory Program Needs Your Help
The majority of users are snowmobilers. Riders range from trail-sledders to extreme riders playing on the numerous high alpine ridges and open bowls. Prior to the avalanche forecast program the range experienced several preventable avalanche fatalities and close calls.
Since the 2004-05 winter season, Polaris in partnership with Tri-City Performance has provided a current seasons RMK which is used for forecasting purposes. This sled is critical to the success of the western Uinta Avalanche forecasting program. Thank you for making this happen, and helping us to save lives!
The support from our good friends at Tri-City Performance in partnership with Polaris is second to none. Their sleds enable us to get into more terrain, see more snow, and ultimately issue more precise forecasts along with providing critical outreach. Without a suitable machine, we simply cannot access our forecast area.
Goals for next season
- Continue to provide complete coverage for the western Uinta Mountains
- Expand snowmobile specific education programs for the public along with professional and volunteer rescue organizations
- Upgrade technology and maintain weather station network to advance the state of the art in avalanche forecasting
- Post video tutorials which clearly illustrate the current avalanche danger
Rider interaction. As we all know, sledders love to talk about their machines… we’re no different. Our conversations inevitably turn from avalanches to the Polaris RMK Pro and the loaner program. This open dialog with riders allows us to inform the riding public about the great service and support we receive from Tri-City Performance and Polaris.
Summary: The Utah Avalanche Center needs your help
These are tough economic times for everyone, and the UAC is no exception. Even in good years the center runs on a lean budget. While numbers of all mountain riders continues to grow and our service are stretched thin, funding remains static. We need your continued support now more than ever.
We look forward to working with you again this season and appreciate the opportunity to partner with your organizations. Thanks for all the years of great support.
Utah Avalanche Center