Access to remote regions for our snowmobile specific forecasts has always been a challenging proposition, but since 2000, the Utah Snowmobile Association helped us form critical relationships with sled dealers and manufacturers. Since then, Tri-City Performance, Wellers Recreation, and Big Pine Sports in conjunction with Polaris, BRP/Ski-Doo, and Arctic Cat respectively, donate loaner sleds to the Utah Avalanche Center(UAC) each winter. This extremely generous partnership allows us to see more terrain, issue more accurate forecasts, and ultimately saves more riders lives.
The loaner program allows us connect with critical user groups inside the sled community. We offer state of the art avalanche training for local snowmobile shops and their staff, Sheriff Departments Search and Rescue groups, State Parks Staff, and of course, hi-end recreational riders. Riders range from trail-sledders to extreme riders playing on the numerous high alpine ridges and open bowls throughout the state. Before these programs, Utah experienced numerous and preventable, avalanche fatalities and close calls.
Solid weather data is also critical for our rural avalanche programs. This year, in partnership with the National Weather Service and the Heber-Kamas Ranger District, we expanded our weather station network to include a wind and snow site on the south half of the western Uinta range near Currant Creek Peak. Radio telemetry connects all six weather stations specifically installed in high traffic, avalanche prone terrain of the region. Real-time snow, wind, and temperature data is available to everyone and it’s a vital resource that enables the public to make informed decisions regarding their winter travel plans. In addition, this information is a benefit to public safety operations and often used by local Search and Rescue organizations.
The UAC also continued the Are You Beeping signage program along with a Beacon Park in conjunction with long time partners Backcountry Access.
We look forward to continuing these great relationships and expanding our mission- to provide accurate forecasting and continue the level of education and outreach which keeps Utah snowmobilers on top of the snow in their backyard mountains, not buried beneath it.