SWAG

Snow, Weather, and Avalanches: Observational Guidelines for Avalanche Programs in the United States

Photo by John Stimberis

This document was produced through the cooperative efforts of the American Avalanche Association (A3) and the Forest Service National Avalanche Center. Commonly known as SWAG, its creation involved a working group from a broad cross section of avalanche workers in the U.S. getting input from the general membership of A3 and cooperation from the Canadian Avalanche Association. The first version was written in 2004, while the current version is 2010. We expect to update this working document every five to ten years.

This electronic copy is not printable, and is meant to be a resource for folks to check out the guidelines, view the contents, and do electronic searches. Bound hard copy of the document can be purchased through the American Avalanche Association at their online store. The additional forms and charts at the bottom of this page are printable.

For an article on the creation of this document (published in the 2004 Proceedings of the International Snow Science Workshop) click here.

INTRODUCTION

Includes the Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1

Manual Snow and Weather Observations

CHAPTER 2

Snowpack Observations

CHAPTER 3

Avalanche Observations

GLOSSARY

APPENDIX A

References

APPENDIX B

Units

APPENDIX C

Metadata

APPENDIX D

Observational Sites for Meteorological Measurements

APPENDIX E

Automated Weather Stations – Part 1

Automated Weather Stations – Part 2

APPENDIX F

ICSI Classification for Seasonal Snow Cover on the Ground – Part 1

ICSI Classification for Seasonal Snow Cover on the Ground – Part 2

APPENDIX G

Avalanche Danger, Hazard, and Snow Stability Scales

APPENDIX H

Reporting Avalanche Involvements

APPENDIX I

Symbols and Abbreviations

Printable Forms & Charts

Please send contents, corrections and suggestions to:

Jaime Musnicki
American Avalanche Association, Executive Director
P.O. Box 248
Victor, ID 83455
(307) 699-2049
aaa@avalanche.org

AVALANCHE ACCIDENT REPORTING FORM

Long Form

AVALANCHE ACCIDENT REPORTING FORM

Short Form

AVALANCHE DATA CODES

CONVERSION TABLES

SAMPLE DATALOGGER PROGRAMS

SNOW PROFILE FORMS

RAM FIELD SHEET

RAM CALCULATION SHEET

Supplementary Material

IACS SNOW CLASSIFICATION

(including crystal photos and snow crystal fonts)
The 2009 revision of the international snow classification system can be viewed on this website, and you can also download the revised font set in either TrueType, OpenType or Adobe Type 1 formats.

AVALANCHE.ORG

A great resource for one-stop shop for avalanche information in the United States. Links to Avalanche Centers and Advisories in the U.S. and worldwide. Best source of information for U.S. avalanche accidents. Locate an avalanche course provider near you.

FOREST SERVICES NATIONAL AVALANCHE CENTER

More information on snow and avalanche phenomena can be found on the Technology Transfer section of the NAC’s website.

AVALANCHE CANADA

A great resource for avalanche information in Canada.

SNOW CRYSTAL PHYSICS AT THE CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

A great resource on snow crystal formation.

SNOW MEASURING EQUIPMENT & SNOWPIT KITS

SNOWMETRICS

Tools for avalanche forecasting and snow research.

SNOWPIT TECHNOLOGIES

A supplier of quality equipment and education to the snow science community and backcountry travelers.

LIFE-LINK

Life-Link offers a variety of avalanche probes, shovels, snow study kits, and other accessories for safe backcountry travel.

WASATCH TOURING

Salt Lake’s backcountry equipment store and Specialized dealer since 1972.

BACKCOUNTRY ACCESS

The most trusted name in backcountry safety.

BROOKS-RANGE

If you work or play in the snow, the key to avoiding avalanches is understanding the snowpack, the conditions that cause them, the terrain where they are likely to occur, and the specific nuances of the snow where you intend to travel. A snow science kit and the snow study tools it includes are key components for staying safe in the backcountry.

FIELD NOTEBOOKS

SNOWPIT TECHNOLOGIES

When assessing avalanche hazard, you need to account for the effects of the snowpack, terrain and weather. This “waterproof” fieldbook provides an easy way to summarize all of your observations and test results helping you make better decisions in avalanche terrain.

HACKSAW PUBLISHING

Hacksaw Publishing, Inc. is a world leader in the snow and avalanche industry with its products: Professional Snow Data Field Book and the Backcountry Field Card. Both products are used by snow-avalanche safety professionals and backcountry guides.

AIARE FIELD NOOTEBOOK

RITE IN THE RAIN

SNOW PROFILE SOFTWARE

SNOWPILOT

SnowPilot is a FREE software program that allows you to collect snow pit and avalanche occurrence data onto your computer (PC or Mac) This data is then uploaded to a database on the web where others can view it and researchers can grab the raw data.

SNOWPRO+

Snowpro+ is a professional application to create and view your snow profiles while offline on pc or laptop platforms.

AUTOMATED WEATHER STATIONS & SENSORS

CAMPBELL SCIENTIFIC

JUDD COMMUNICATIONS