Last week I had the opportunity to work with a group of US Air Force Special Operations guys from the 10th Combat Weather Squadron on an avalanche course here in Jackson. This course was run in conjunction with the American Avalanche Institute. Guide and instructor Christian Santelices (a local Exum Mountain Guide) and Sarah Carpenter (co-owner of AAI) also assisted, as we spent six days working on basic and advanced avalanche topics and skills.
This is the third spring in a row that I have worked with this group, always different guys, but always top-notch. Their ability to absorb and then apply new subject matter constantly amazes me. What I like most about these guys is they are all Air Force trained weather forecasters, some even have degrees in meteorology, as well. And, they are tough as nails when they are out in the mountains. Especially considering they came here from sea level!
We worked on both Teton & Togwotee Passes and had good “winter-like” conditions, for mid April.
This next week I will be going to their headquarters and teaching a Mountain Weather Forecasting Course to this same group. The goal is to provide them with the knowledge and skills necessary to be able to forecast both weather & avalanches in the mountainous regions they are often called to work in.
“Combat-Weather”, I’m glad no one is shooting at me while I’m forecasting! That’s a different level of pressure to be accurate!
Post & Photo by meteorologist Jim Woodmencey
|Some of the 10CWS Team on top of Breccia Peak|