Friday Night Kick-off Social

The Friends of Mount Washington Avalanche Center (FOMWAC) are working hard to line things up for the Friday Night Social at International Climbing Equipment in North Conway. We are really happy to have Smuttynose Brewing supporting us again this year. Last year they came through big and they’ll be here again with some frosty beverages for all the attendees registered.

To save time on Saturday we’re also doing early registration Friday night (pretty exciting) but we’ll also be showing some videos, debating the pros and cons of the latest avalanche gear and re-connecting with old friends. FMWAC Logologo-smuttynose

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Dinner Details announced

Grab your date, your wife, your friends or your mother and plan to attend this year’s Eastern Snow and Avalanche Workshop and Dinner. Speakers and panel discussions all day and then if that’s not enough you can register for a great dinner and listen to internationally known avalanche forecaster Rudi Mair as the keynote speaker. Here are the details.

Avalanche Awareness Dinner Schedule


Comments by Chris Joosen, lead snow ranger, Mt. Washington, NH


Welcome by Cindy Berlack and Laura Astle, mothers of Ronnie and Bryce, U.S. Ski Team members and avalanche victims


Eric Arvidsson, U. S Ski Team member, who was present at the fatal avalanche


New Hampshire elected official – TBA

7:20 to 8

Dinner Menu: Roasted, Stuffed Chicken Breast with all the trimmings, Chocolate Mousse

8 – 8:30

Keynote Speaker: Rudi Mair, director of Avalanche Warning Service in Tirol, Austria

“Avalanches, their Mortal Danger, and Understanding Their Complexity?


Don Sharaf on Vimeo

Don Sharaf and I performing a variety of stability tests on a NE facing 20 degree slope about 9100 feet ASL. When dealing with Deep Slab problems, test results can be misleading or hard to interpret. This video shows and extended ECT (200cm x 30cm) followed by a normal ECT (90×30) and a PST test. All three test reveal moderate to high strength, poor structure and high likelihood of propagation. This is the trickiest of avalanche problems – it may be hard to initiate failure on a slope, but once it initiates the likelihood of large, dangerous avalanches is quite high. Only one thing will heal this wound – time.

Deep Slab instability in the Wasatch Mountains Feb 2014 from Jake Hutchinson on Vimeo.

Bruce Jamieson talks on Vimeo

This presentation is similar to one presented at the ISSW 2013 in Grenoble France. The paper corresponding paper is posted at

ISO 31000 and avalanche mitigation projects from Bruce Jamieson on Vimeo.


Based on an ISSW 2009 paper by Bruce Jamieson, Juerg Schweizer and Cora Shea, the presentation uses an event tree, an expert survey of triggering odds, Canadian Accident data and some large assumptions to calculate the risk of death for a day of backcountry skiing at each of the levels of regional avalanche danger. The backcountry skiing risks are compared with the risks for a day of kayaking, a day of rock climbing and a day of mountaineering. During Considerable avalanche danger, backcountry skiing risk is about 10 times higher than when the avalanche danger is Moderate. The paper is posted at


Considerable avalanche danger: How much riskier is it? from Bruce Jamieson on Vimeo.

Non-profit organizations supporting us.

A huge thanks to our these great organizations that are supporting us through a variety of ways. Each organization is either helping with financial support, expertise or guidance and everyone has been a big help in getting this years event off the ground. We’re looking forward to working with all of these guys through the winter and next year as we move forward.

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2014 Agenda finalized!

After many hours on the phone, texting and emailing, we have finalized Saturdays schedule and it looks delicious! Plenty of variety, lots of top notch speakers and athletes from across the US. This year should be one to remember.

4th Annual Eastern Snow and Avalanche Workshop November 7 & 8, 2014

Theater in the Wood, Bartlett NH

Friday 11/7/2014

1700 Early Registration and Social

1800 – 2030 ESAW 2014 Kickoff Party—A social event hosted by ESAW and the American Alpine Club. Films by Granite Films and Ski the East.

Saturday 11/8/2014

0730 – 0815 Registration

0815 – 0845 Welcome, Introduction, & Housekeeping Kyle Tyler and Chris Joosen

0845 – 0915 Effect of Loose, Dry, Cold Snow Sluffing on New Slab Instabilities – Chris Joosen, Lead Snow Ranger, USDA-Forest Service Mount Washington Avalanche Center

0915 – 1000 The Two Stages of Wet Snow: Basic Physics and Why We Care – Sam Colbeck, US Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (Retired)

1000 – 1015 Break & Raffle #1

1015 – 1045 Mount Washington Summit Cone Avalanche: Persistent? Deep? Cold? A Near-Miss Case Study – Frank Carus, Snow Ranger, USDA-Forest Service Mount Washington Avalanche Center

1045 – 1130 Recent Advances in Understanding Avalanche Release and Stability Tests – Karl Birkeland, Director, USDA-Forest Service National Avalanche Center

1130 – 1150 USDA-Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center-Logan Toby Weed, Avalanche Forecaster, USDA-Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center

1150 – 1315 Lunch

1315 Raffle #2

1315 – 1445 Avalanches and Climbing: Staying Alive while Pushing the Limits in Alpine Terrain Round Table — Moderator Jeff Lane, Mount Washington Avalanche Center Participant—Kevin Mahoney, Mark Richey, Majka Burkhardt, Jesse Williams, Ben Leoni

1445 – 1500 Break & Raffle #3

1500 – 1545 Into the Black: Forecasting for Extreme Avalanche Conditions (or, How to go grey in a month) Toby Weed, Avalanche Forecaster, USDA-Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center

1545 – 1610 Avalanche Bags: Do They Really Work? Yes! (But with some caveats…) Jonathan Shefftz, National Ski Patrol

1610 – 1630 USDA-Forest Service National Avalanche Center—Who We Are and What We Do Karl Birkeland—Director USDA-Forest Service National Avalanche Center

1630 – 1645 Closing remarks

1645 – 1830 Post-ESAW Social –  Vendor Booths International Mountain Equipment, North Conway


Beer! – Local, delicious and important

No gathering is complete without beer. This year is a big year for growth, new venue, new partnership with The American Alpine Club and an added Friday night get together, and YES, a beer sponsor. All of you have probably dreamed of the day that you land your first beer sponsorship, we’re no different. After a few years of getting older ESAW is now old enough to have beer. Not just any beer, it’s local, but not too local, it comes from New Hampshire, but just barely. Thanks to the efforts of Bill Downey and the Friends of Mount Washington Avalanche Center, Smuttynose Brewing Company will be providing Beer (yes I used a capital letter) for our big event this year. I can hear the cheering from here.

So if you’ve been foolish, maybe a bit lazy, or just forgot and haven’t registered for the 2014 Eastern Snow and Avalanche Workshop, get to it and sign up. More sponsors, more speakers, and more information will be coming out soon.



Thank you guys at Smuttynose Brewering Company for showing your support and being part of this year’s event. You’re helping us bring it to a whole new level.!



Exciting new partnership with the American Alpine Club

What started out small, in a basement with 40 or 50 people has steadily grown over the past few years. Last year our attendance was just over 200, our audience ranged from high school students to weathered winter veterans from all around the country. Each year we grow and that growth seems to move toward the right place at the right time. This year we are excited to announce that ESAW will be funding a new grant in partnership with The American Alpine Club and their Live your Dream Grant program. From the beginning ESAW has been about sharing information and educating those of us that get out into the back-country during the winter. This partnership is a giant step in making that education and funding more visible and accessible. We’ll be talking more about it on November 7th and 8th and look forward to see where this partnership will lead to next. Here’s a bit more details on the grant.


NEW FOR WINTER 2014-2015, thanks to a generous gift there is additional funding for one or more Live your Dream Grant – the Eastern Snow and Avalanche Workshop (ESAW) Award.    This additional funding for the next 3 years is for applicants whose dream involves the passion to experience mountain and alpine climbing endeavors, but who require additional competency training in avalanche awareness and recognition.  The ESAW Award is designed to support hands-on education or training preceding the applicant’s trip.  Applicants should include details on the specific instruction or competency needed that includes the school, course or guide details that uses avalanche curriculum established by the American Avalanche Association (AAA), the American Avalanche Institute (AAI), the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) , or the Canadian Avalanche Association (CAA) to help attain their dream climb along with contents of the Live Your Dream application.  There will also be annual ESAW attendance seats awards each year for 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Thank you American Alpine Club and thank you to everyone that has attended or will attend ESAW!


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Utah Avalanche Center – Logan forecaster heading to the East

Not sure why anyone from Utah would come back east during the dark and gloomy month of November but one of the long time forecaster from Logan will be here to talk snow, avalanches so if you’re heading out to Utah this winter you might want to register and listen to what these guys have to say.

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