Avalanche snow with disturbed vegetation in runout zone. Photo credit: Colorado Geological Survey.

The Snowy Torrents

2021-02-08 | CGS Admin

Here in Colorado, avalanche season is not over yet, and it’s been another deadly one with 26 fatalities so far in the US, six in the state. In that light, we thought we would re-release a publication that highlights at least one challenging aspect of Colorado snowfall — that is, the significant danger of avalanches. The Snowy Torrents: Avalanche Accidents in the United States 1980-86, compiled and written by Nick Logan and Dale Atkins and illustrated with Larry Scott’s fine pencil drawings, was first published in 1996. However, Larry went back and re-made the PDF from the original publication file, producing a new PDF file that is far better than the rather poor digital scan we had offered previously.

This free download details 146 oft-times harrowing stories surrounding avalanches, the lives they claim, survivors and witnesses, along with assessments as to what happened, why it happened, and what could have been done to prevent loss of life and/or property. The authors are never judgmental, their clear-eyed accounts contain a wealth of wisdom that will add to the knowledge-base of any winter backcountry enthusiast: it may be a life-saver!

Citations, Categories & Tags


Logan, Nick, and Dale Atkins. SP-39 The Snowy Torrents: Avalanche Accidents in the United States, 1980–86. Special Publications 39. Denver, CO: Colorado Geological Survey, Department of Natural Resources, 1996.


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