Back this morning after a dawn patrol. We indeed have a weather window today but the snow is not matted down yet and breakable crust abounds. Fun anyway, especially when you dump your skis and poles out of the pickup bed because you forgot to close the tailgate — and only notice this when you get to the trailhead. But that’s a story the details of which will remain untold (it turned out okay). On to today’s burning issue:
Colorado Ski Hall of Fame inductees vote every year to determine which candidates enter the hall. We get mailed a stack of candidate applications and a ballot for five picks.
Most candidates are ski industry figures or racers and it’s hard to sort through those for a backcountry boy like me, but at least one wild snow oriented person is usually included. This year’s backcountry candidate is Knox Williams, co-author of “The Avalanche Book,” and the man who more than anyone is behind Colorado having years of quality avalanche education and hazard forecasting. Few people know that Knox started his Colorado avalanche work in the state way back in 1967, thus having an amazingly long career in the field that continues to the present. His devotion is much of the reason we have the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) still doing their avalanche forecasting and excellent educational outreach that’s no doubt saved many lives over past decades.
Indeed, I attribute much of my own avalanche safety education to Knox, as everything from his book to the CAIC educational system has contributed to my knowledge base. I’m certain all this has helped keep me alive though years of avalanche terrain meanders.
If any other Hall of Famers are reading this, I hope you voted for Knox!
Knox Williams Books from our Backcountry Skiing Book List
Williams, Knox and Betsy Armstrong. The Avalanche Book. Fulcrum Press, 1986.
(Excellent overview, should be in every backcountry skier’s collection.)
Shop for The Avalanche Book
Williams, Knox and Armstrong, Betsy. The Snowy Torrents: Avalanche Accidents , United States, 1972-1979. Teton Bookshop Publishing, 1984.
(This classic of accident reporting changed the way we look at avalanches, includes many of the famous early accidents that helped inform today’s avalanche safety methods.)
Shop for Snowy Torrents: Avalanche Accidents in the United States 1972-1979
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.