A Virtual Sawapalooza

A Virtual Sawapalooza

Snow and Avalanche Workshops (called SAWs) are the classic forerunner to the backcountry ski season. Regional avalanche centers typically host these events to provide the local community with great education, awareness, and to raise funds, meanwhile allowing the locals to show off their latest facial-hair styles, Carhartt’s, and über-cool flannels. If you can endure the testosterone soup kitchen, you can obtain some great education and warm up your summer brain for making safer decisions in avalanche terrain.

However, this season you can leave your ironic mustache at home because all events are virtual. Anyone from anywhere can attend any SAW—it’s going to be a virtual Sawapalooza.

My sarcasm aside, there’s some excellent education available to all, no matter your location. Just pick a SAW, any SAW—WYSAW, CSAW, SAAW, MSUSAW, BENDSAW, NSAW—get some education, and feel free to make a donation if you can.


Northwest­­—NSAW: Oct. 20, 22, 27, 29

  • Highlights: On Day 2, the enigmatic Dallas Glass will present “Snow Observations and What They Can Tell Us.” On Day 4, avalanche safety expert Pascal Haegeli will discuss the latest research on avalanche bulletin users.


Wyoming—WYSAW: Oct. 23 & 24

  • Highlight: Jake Hutchinson will present on a systematic approach to situational awareness.


Colorado—CSAW: Oct. 14, 15, 16

  • Highlights: Ben Reuter will discuss “Identifying Hazards and Consequences to Assess and Reduce Risk.” The last day features four lectures focused on “Learning from Avalanche Accidents.”


Utah—USAW: Nov. 10, 11, 12

  • Highlights: Mark Staples will present on the importance of tracking early season weak layers on Day 1, and John Climaco will present “Fatigue and Distraction” on Day 2.


Central Oregon—BendSaw: Nov. 14th


Flathead—NRSAW: Nov. 12-14

  • Highlight: Martina Halik will discuss managing avalanche risk over a multi-week tour.


California—CAW: Month of October

  • Highlights: The California Avalanche Workshop will feature numerous discussions throughout October you watch on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.


Southcentral Alaska—SAAW: Nov. 6

  • Highlight: Laura Maguire, who studies human performance in high risk/high consequence environments, will be presenting.


Montana—MSUSAW: Nov. 2, 9, 16, 23

  • Highlight: The Nov. 16 session will focus on how is climate change is impacting our snowpack management, and how new technology is being used to learn about and track avalanches.


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