An avalanche technician is trained to monitor the condition of layered
snow, called snowpacks, to determine if there is a risk for an avalanche.
These snow experts are also trained in the different types of avalanches and
how severe an avalanche might be according to the current conditions.
Forecasting avalanche conditions is only part of the job. For example,
an avalanche technician who works for the transportation department might
determine that an avalanche will probably happen in a particular area.
Rather than shutting down a road or risking injury for travelers, the technician
will create a controlled avalanche using explosives. The explosives are set
to trigger an avalanche at a particular time instead of waiting for nature
to take its course.
Avalanche technicians work in a variety of roles. They could be guides
who escort recreational groups on skiing, snowmobiling or hiking trips. They
might be forestry workers in charge of avalanche forecasting. Or they could
be transportation department employees in charge of avalanche clearing.
This work requires physical strength. Avalanche technicians spend most
of their time outside. They examine weather patterns, snowfall and wind conditions.
And they actually dig in the snow to determine how solidly or loosely the
snow is packed.
Of course, since snow only lasts from November to April each year, even
in higher elevations, most avalanche technicians hold different jobs from
May through November. During these off-season months, many technicians are
employed in forestry services or as recreational guides for mountain climbing
You must be very physically fit. People with handicaps can participate
by doing weather studies and predictions. Or they could be analysts who draw
conclusions from research done by others in the field.
Look out for falling snow