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Snow Science and Dynamite

This BKKSci event is a unique one in a few ways. First, this is our first speaker who doesn’t live in Asia, and second, it’s a topic that you likely won’t find much call for in Thailand, but is still interesting nonetheless.

Doug Krause is the Snow Safety Director of the 20,000 acre Silverton Mountain Ski Area in Colorado. You may think his job entails merely telling people where and where not to ski – which is part of it – but it’s actually a lot more extensive, detailed and dangerous than that.

He explains: “Avalanches are a major concern for communities, transportation corridors and outdoor enthusiasts in many parts of the world. There are two groups of avalanche professionals that divide the community into theory and practice. The theorists focus on scientific investigation of snowpack metamorphosis, avalanche slab failure, etc. and the practitioners focus on what can be done about avalanche hazard in real-time.

Doug will talk a bit about what exactly an avalanche is and how it forms, with an emphasis on how environmental variables affect the snowpack and its propensity for producing avalanches. This will lead into the real-world problem of managing avalanche hazards and the principles of risk management.

Yes, yes,” you say, “this all sounds interesting, but when is Doug ever in danger? Are you lying to me, BKKSci?” Let me tell you, my friend, Doug’s job is much more than sitting at a computer looking at satellite maps. As he explains: “Avalanche hazard reduction ranges from pure forecasting based on knowledge of weather, terrain and snowpack to full scale aerial assault with a helicopters and explosives.” BOOM!

And how was your day in your office?


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