Conceptual Model of Avalanche Hazard (CMAH)

Have you ever wondered what process avalanche forecasters go through when they are putting together the avalanche hazard rating and the forecast?

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 the process of developing an avalanche forecast.

Here is a paper about CMAH.

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

How to Communicate About Avalanches Like a Pro

As a backcountry traveler, it is important to be able to communicate about avalanche activity – how big an avalanche was, what started it, where it was.

When avalanches are documented, it is typically written as TYPE-TRIGGER-SIZE-BED SURFACE.

For example: SS-AS-D2-O for Soft Slab, Artificial Skier, Destructive Size 2, Old Snow.

This video covers how professionals document avalanches. As an advanced recreationist, it is important to understand this language.

It can be hard to remember all of these symbols and short hand documentation. Use the Snow, Weather and Avalanche Guidelines (SWAG) as a study guide. Page 50 is where the avalanche observations section starts.

It can be tricky to estimate avalanche size. Here is a video discussing a more visual method for rating the size of avalanches.

And if you want to practice this, here is a video that runs you through a variety of avalanches and offers you an opportunity to estimate the avalanche sizes.