Avalanche Hazard Mapping
Avalanches involve rapid, down-slope movement of snow, ice and potentially other debris. Avalanches can occur on any snow-covered slope, and can cause death, injury, and property damage. Avalanche hazard can vary dramatically with differences in terrain, weather, and snow-pack.
USA Major Ranges Map - click lower right
Avalanche science is evolving, and maps of avalanche hazard covering all affected areas of the entire United States are not presently available. Ski areas, highway departments, and forecast centers (see below) may produce hazard maps and atlases. Geologic/natural hazard maps may depict avalanche hazard. Local studies of avalanche hazard may be conducted by independent consulting firms in order to meet building or planning requirements.
The USFS National Avalanche Center is the primary federal agency for avalanche related information. We recommend visiting their site to learn more about the avalanche phenomenon. The USFS, state agencies, and private donors provide funding for regional avalanche centers. However, not all avalanche prone areas are covered by avalanche centers, and not all avalanche centers provide avalanche hazard maps or map-based forecasts. Avalanche centers are listed below.
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Avalanche Path. Silverton, Colorado. 2008.
Resources - USA
Northern Rockies- ID, MT, WY
Central Rockies - UT, CO
Desert Southwest- NM, AZ, Southern CA
For state-specific information, contact your State Geologist and your State Office of Emergency Management. At a local level, contact your city or county emergency management, planning, zoning, environmental and/or health office/department.
American Avalanche Association (AAA) - Professional association for avalanche workers: forecasters, researchers, guides, patrollers, engineers, geologists, instructors, etc.
Canadian Avalanche Association (CAA) - Same as above for Canada. Also provides classes and forecasts for professionals and recreationalists.
American Institute for Avalanche Research & Educatio (AIARE) - Provider of avalanche education.
Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies (CSAS)- Provides resources for field-based avalanche research and education.
International Snow Science Workshop (ISSW) - Scientific conference held in even-numbered years in various locations worldwide. Presentations, posters, and publications of snow/avalanche science related topics.
Avalanche.org - Website for all things avalanche related.