16th Annual Utah Snow and Avalanche Workshop (USAW)
16th Annual Utah Snow and Avalanche Workshop (USAW)
16th Annual Utah Snow and Avalanche Workshop (USAW)

16th Annual Utah Snow and Avalanche Workshop (USAW)

Salt Lake
November 04, 2023
Regular price
Sale price

Utah Snow and Avalanche Workshop (USAW)

The in-person session will be held at the Dejoria Center in Kamas, UT (970 UT-32, Kamas, UT 84036).

A link to the live stream will be sent be available the last week of October.

 Join us for the 16th Annual USAW, where Utah’s avalanche community will team up with snow professionals around the west to share avalanche knowledge. Regional avalanche workshops are the most time and cost-effective way to build and refresh advanced avalanche skills. This is your chance to learn from avalanche experts and brush up on your skills before the start of the season.

You’ll learn from forecasters, patrollers, snow scientists, highway avalanche crews, search & rescue personnel, mountain guides, ski industry manufacturers, backcountry skiers & snowboarders, snowmobilers, avalanche researchers, and more.  The format will be 15-minute presentations followed by Q&A.

The General Session is hosted on November 4 as an all-day event, either in-person or as a live stream.


Morning session: 8:30-12:15

Tales from the deep - In the White Room… with dark curtains

08:30-08:35 - Welcome. Craig Gordon

08:35-08:50 - Winter Review. A video stroll through the highlights and lowlights of the 2022-23 winter season

08:50-09:10 - Cry Me an Atmospheric River. Weather factors making the 2022-23 winter so historic. Glen Merrill or Mike Wessler, NWS

09:15-09:35 - Evaluating UAC Forecasts. Comparing reported avalanche activity with the forecasted avalanche problems. Nikki  Champion, UAC and Andy Paradis

09:40-10:00 - OnX ATES. Trip planning with technology. Utilizing the Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES) for your trip planning. Charlie von Avis, OnXmaps

10:05-10:25 - Dust on snow patterns and impacts in the Wasatch Mountains: Is it getting dirtier? Dust deposition darkens snow and accelerates melt; we will present the observations in Little Cottonwood Canyon that are used to study the patterns and impacts of dust on snow in the Wasatch, with a focus on the previous two dirtier than normal winters. McKenzie Skiles and Otto Lange, University of Utah

10:25-10:45 BREAK

10:45-10:55 - I can’t see the forest because it’s obliterated! Try canyon craziness during the 2022-2023 winter in Big, Little and Provo Canyons. Tim Rogers and John Woodruff, UDOT

10:55-11:25 - Just look at this mess! A deep dive with the crew pushing the levers to make our canyons safe for winter travel. Jake Brown, UDOT 233 Shed Foreman

11:30-11:50 - Decisions… decisions. The 2022-2023 snow and avalanche season provided unprecedented snowfall, snow depth, and avalanche activity. How do we make decisions about snowpack and risk on a historic snowpack, that even the most seasoned experts had few models for? Russ Costa, Ph.D. Professor of Honors & Neuroscience, Westminster College

11:50-12:40 Lunch 

Afternoon Session: 12:40-16:00

Being prepared for when things go sideways 

12:40-12:45 - Welcome. Craig Gordon

12:50-13:10 - Tech check… so many bells and whistles. Interference with my transceiver and too many devices. Mike Hattrup, Black Diamond Equipment

13:15-14:35 - What I carry on my sled, in my pack, on my back. Whether on patrol, riding a sled, or out for a tour, learn about what seasoned pro’s carry to be prepared while not bringing the kitchen sink. Tyler St. Jeor, Canyons Village Snow Safety, Wasatch County SAR

13:40-14:00 - Building a mental winter backcountry survival kit. Avalanche First Aid - what do you need to know? Michael Buchanan, NRP, FP-C, FAWM, Executive Director | Program Director Mountain Medical Academy

14:05-14:25 - Red Pine mini-epic. Keeping the wheels on the bus during a late-in-the-day mishap. Allison Conover, Utah Mountain Adventures

14:30-14:50 - I broke my back… now what? How being prepared with all the right gear and solid crew, turned a mega epic into a manageably, miserable day. Randy Sugihara, Snowmobile Athlete, Alpine Assassins

14:50-15:10 BREAK

5:10-15:55 - Can we talk?  Putting it all together

15:10- 15:30 - Emotional Safety as a Human Factor. Fostering communication, mental awareness, and group dynamics within your backcountry party. Jess Shade, CMHC, M.Ed., MDiv., Therapist Altura Counseling

15:35-15:55 - Passing on the Passion to the Next Generation. After nearly 30 years of searching for pow in the Wasatch, seeking out new-to-me lines, and completing the chuting gallery, my passion has turned from one of self-indulgence in the greatest pow on earth, to one of teaching and showing my two daughters the beauty that lies beyond the trailhead. Mike Meru, backcountry rider, fang aligner, and dad extraordinaire 

15:55 - Closing remarks and high fives!

 16:00-17:00 Social Hour