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SNOWYTELLING- Reflections on Writing About Snow and Avalanches

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center publishes a daily hazard bulletin that utilizes the North American danger rating, standardized problem icons and codified language related to avalanche size and likelihood. Diving deeper into the daily report, recreationalists find the Forecast Discussion page, where staffs’ personality, wit and writing talent really shines.

What shapes and inspires a forecaster's muse? How do they tell an engaging story while keeping the public focused on key messages about danger, safety and backcountry travel? How difficult is it to frame a compelling narrative around important, often critical and complex warnings? How does the forecaster keep their dialogue fresh, even when the snow is not? Capturing people’s attention and spinning the winter’s tale clearly and consistently requires above average storytelling abilities. In the San Juans, we’re blessed to have one heck of an orator communicating with us each day.

Similarly. educators have a limited window to impact their students. The best teachers are even better storytellers. The ability to connect key concepts to terrain, weather, snowpack, human behavior and a students’ personal experience always proves stimulating for the instructor. Through the use of colorful prose, vivid imagery and dynamic storytelling, professional avalanche educators gently push participants to look at their backcountry exploits through new lenses of learning. Crafting meaning and capturing the attention of recreationalists, inside, outside, through written communications and dynamic lessons can have dire consequences if the message is lost or misconstrued. “I taught them, they just didn’t listen” is never an acceptable excuse from the pros.

Join CAIC forecaster Chris Bilbrey and local educator & mountain guide Michael Ackerman for an intimate look at how writing, speaking and storytelling work to amplify the work they do. Join the Friends of the San Juans for an evening of colorful narratives, alpine anecdotes, lots of learning and laughs.

Snowytelling, Reflections on Writing About Snow and Avalanches

at the Durango Powerhouse, April 7th at 6pm



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