A flurry of science

by • July 31, 2012 • UncategorizedComments (0)861

Some of the world’s leading experts on snow safety will be in Anchorage Sept. 16-21 during the ISSW.Photo: Kevin Wright

For the first time since its inception, the International Snow Science Workshop (ISSW) will be held in Alaska, September 16-21 at the Dena’ina Center in downtown Anchorage.

Since 1976, ISSW has provided the avalanche industry a forum to discuss theories, explore innovative concepts, and maintain state-of-the-art practices in avalanche-related fields and activities. The conference is an international event with representatives from numerous countries including Austria, France, Japan, New Zealand and many more. Alaska’s opportunity to host the event may not come again for 30 years.

With an operative motto of, “A merging of theory and practice,” ISSW is intended for an audience with a wide range of avalanche knowledge and experience. The world’s leading avalanche scientists will be presenting topics such as examining the vulnerability of being caught in an avalanche. There will also be group discussions about snowmachining,

airbags, beacons and new technology.

ISSW is typically attended by wellknown authors of avalanche literature like Bruce Tremper, author of “Staying

Alive in Avalanche Terrain” and Jill Fredston, author of “Snow Sense” and “Snowstruck.”

Other presentations will include an account of avalanche accidents in the Alaska Range as told by mountaineering rangers from Denali National Park. All told, there will be approximately 60 oral papers presented and 120

papers presented via poster.

Alaska Natives have been thriving in snowy environments for generations. Some of this heritage will be highlighted in a presentation about Inupiat and Yupik knowledge of snow.

Included in the price of a full registration fee are a number of fieldtrip options using the Alaska Railroad between

Anchorage and Moose Pass. Side ventures from the train will review Alyeska Resort, Alaska Railroad, Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center and Alaska Department of Transportation avalanche programs.

ISSW will also provide an opportunity to buy or learn about new products or technology before it is available in stores. The avalanche safety equipment and clothing manufacturers Pieps and Arc’teryx are the presenting sponsors of ISSW 2012. Find both booths in the conference hall displaying their latest products with a company representative to help explain all the finer details. Many other sponsors and exhibitors will have booths in the Dena’ina Center. The Beartooth Theatre Pub will be hosting an avalanche film festival movie night hosted by mountaineering legend Fred Becky for after-hours entertainment, and the Taproot Café will host Diva’s night for women avalanche professionals.

Despite the serious nature of avalanches, this forum, regarded

as a celebration of snow, will provide attendants two free

beer tickets for each day of the conference!

ISSW is a rare opportunity for world-class avalanche education combined with fun and entertainment. More information about registration and other field day options can be found on the ISSW 2012 webpage, www.issw2012.com.


ISSW Tentative Schedule

Sunday, Sept. 16

8 a.m.-4 p.m. National Avalanche Center Meeting
K’enakatnu Executive Board Room – 2nd Floor

8 a.m.-5 p.m. AAA Board Meeting
Kahtnu – 2nd Floor

8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. AIARE Meeting and Workshop
Kahtnu – #2 2nd Floor

9 a.m.-1 p.m. RAMMS Dynamic Modeling Workshop by SLF
Kahtnu – #1 2nd Floor

Noon-4 p.m. Exhibitors Setup
3rd Floor

3-7 p.m. Registration Open
3rd Floor

7-9 p.m. Social Hour
3rd Floor

Monday, Sept. 17

7:45-8 a.m. – Orientation
8-8:20 a.m. – Welcome Address by Jill Fredston
8:20-9:40 a.m. – First session
9:40-10:10 a.m. – Break

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