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American Ski Annual and Skiing Journal, February 1951

American Ski Annual and Skiing Journal, February 1951, p. 15 - Atwater, Montgomery M., "Avalanche Study in the U.S.A."

Avalanches have become a subject of public interest and discussion in the past two or three years. One reason is that a series of winters with heavy snowfall has demonstrated the dangers of avalanches. Another is that we are now prepared to do something about them. The Swiss have been conducting theoretical work on snow mechanics, using the ram sonde and other research tools. In the U.S., the Forest Service has taken a different course. "We are interested not so much in avalanche theory as in the clues which indicate hazard." Study is by the inductive method: "Gather the data; then, by comparison and analysis, seek to extract the principle."

The counterpart to hazard forecasting is development of protective measures, ranging from closure of dangerous locations through stabilization of slopes by skiing to the use of explosives to eliminate the danger at its source. The avalanche snow study center in the U.S. is at Alta, Utah, in the middle of the three alpine zones identified by Andre Roch, Swiss Avalanche Institute official who recently toured the country under the sponsorship of the National Ski Patrol. The Forest Service has produced a 16mm training film called "Avalanches to Order."

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