Professional Level 2 Self-Assessment

Please complete this self-assessment. It confirms that you meet the requirements for the course, and also gives us a better idea of your background and any goals for the course. Thank you!

Professional Level 2 Paperwork Submissions and Letter of Reference

We are excited to have you on the Pro 2. The prerequisites for this course include successful completion of a Pro 1 course, a letter of recommendation from a supervisor, and submission of two profiles, two operational meeting forms, two pages from two days of field observations. Please combine these 6 forms into a single file and upload this into the assignment space.

The letter of recommendation from a supervisor should verify the following:

-40 days minimum work experience over two operating seasons (note, this can be in the same year if the worker has worked in both the northern and southern hemispheres). This includes participation as a team member, attending daily ops meetings, and participation in operational activities that requires avalanche risk management.

-Avalanche rescue (companion) practices with team leader responsibility. The applicant has participated in multi-team organized avalanche rescue exercise(s).

-The applicant is able to complete the tasks required of a route leader, avalanche forecaster, or ski guide.

You can download a template here.

A Review of the AM/PM Forms

Each day, you will be responsible for filling out a morning and evening forecasting worksheet, as you were on your Professional Level 1.  If you want a refresher about AM and PM forms, take the time to watch Don Sharaf and Don Carpenter introduce these sheets.


Below is a deeper dive into the PM Form.

The PM form is completed at the end of the day. The goal is to compare the AM forecast with actual observations from the field and analyze whether or not conditions matched the forecast. It is also a place to debrief the day and facilitate communication among a team and foster continued learning.

The question to answer is: did the conditions match the forecast?

You can find a completed PM Form here.

The AM form is used to gather information – including weather station data, the weather forecast, recent avalanche activity, and the avalanche hazard rating. It is also used to take existing data and transform that data into a forecast for the day.

Here is a description of the morning worksheet:

You can find a completed AM Form here.

Here is a link to the Mindset Paper written by Roger Atkins. Mindset has been widely adopted by guiding operations as part of the forecasting process.

And you can find the Mindset for Mitigators write up here.

A Review of the Conceptual Model of Avalanche Hazard (CMAH)

The Conceptual Model of Avalanche Hazard is a system for building a hazard forecast. It works through a variety of variables, including what avalanche problems are present and where they are located, and the likelihood and consequence of triggering an avalanche.

Dave Kikkert is going to walk you through a review of the Conceptual Model of Avalanche Forecasting.

Here is a paper about CMAH.

Issue 38.3 of The Avalanche Review has several articles about CMAH.

Here are the Results from January 20-21. You Have Completed the Forecasting Exercise.

What an intense storm. Well done making it through the last few days of weather data. Curious about what happened in 2012? Watch the following video.

The synopsis of the WYDOT mission from the Wyoming DOT forecaster reads: Western Wyoming was hit hard with this moisture with 4 feet of snow and 5.4” of snow water equivalent recorded at the milepost 12 study plot in 5 days.  The new snow was deposited on slick sun crusts and weak faceted snow from the December and January dry spell.   The new snow was initially very dry with a 6% density in the first 8-10”.  The density then increased to 12% and finally to 14% making for extremely upside down conditions.  Winds were also strong with some 100+mph gusts recorded during the 5 day period.  

***And just as an aside, Don talked about wind slab and persistent/deep slab avalanches, but in reality Rocky Gulch and Beaver Slides were probably best described as Storm Slabs. So Storm Slabs were another avalanche problem during this storm.***

Forecasting for the Evening of January 20 and the Morning of January 21

The storm continues…and so does your job. Take the time to develop a plan for the next 12 hour block. Will you close the road again? Will you mitigate any avalanche paths? Which ones? How? When? Are you seeing any storm trends that are remarkable? Develop your plan and answer the questions on the quiz.

Here Are The Results From The Past 24 Hours

It has been an intense 24 hours. Nice job coming up with a plan. Now let’s see how closely your plan lines up with what happened in January 2012.

Armed with these results, it’s time to plan for the next 12 hours. Same assignment….review the weather forecast and then download the weather data for the next 12 hours. When you have developed your plan for the highway for these 12 hours, take the quiz and answer in detail.

The Storm Continues. And So Does Your Forecasting Task.

Now that you’ve uploaded your plan through 6 pm on January 19, take the time to build a plan for January 19 at 6 pm through January 20 at 6 am. Will you close the road again? Will you shoot? What trends are you observing in the storm. Take the time to build your plan. When it’s built, take the quiz and answer the questions in detail.

Now It’s Your Turn To Take Over. January 19, 2012

Here’s what the public is up to on the pass. You are busy forecasting and hoping no one triggers a slide that hits the road.

As Don said in the previous video, now it’s your turn to forecast. The storm has come in and it does not look like it is going to end anytime soon.

It’s your show. Are you going to close the road during this 12 hour period? Are you going to mitigate any slide paths? Which ones? How?

You can download the document below and add your notes. This weather data can be found on the quiz on the next page, as well, so you don’t need to download this and record your responses. Once you have your plan built, take the quiz and answer all of the questions in as much detail as you can. This is a graded portion of your exercise.

Let’s Start Forecasting. Here is the System and an Example of What We Expect of You.

In the following video, Don Sharaf will walk you through January 17 and January 18 weather data, as well as his observations and his mitigation plan. This is a model of what we expect from you in 12 hour time periods from January 19 – 20. You will be asked to upload a notated PDF of when you will close the road, notes on weather trends, and any other pertinent observations.

Once you have done this, you will be able to watch a video that gives actual results from the storm that hit Teton Pass in late January 2012.

Curious about what happened with Don’s shoot? Do you think he got any results? Below is a video where he gives you actual results during the storm cycle in 2012.