IS-65 Snow and Avalanche: Colorado Avalanche Information Center Annual Report 2001-2002


This is the Annual Report of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) for the winter of 2001-02. It describes the operations of the CAIC and the important events of the winter season. This annual report contains the executive summary, funding and budget, operations, weather and avalanche synopsis, detailed winter summary, information acquisition, dissemination of hazard forecasts, public education, and forecasting for Colorado’s highways. 42 pages. Digital PDF download. IS-65D

From the report:

The CAIC has just completed its 19th year as a program of the State of Colorado. The season began with a looming economic recession that put a damper on the recreation plans of many Americans. This was followed by an extraordinarily dry winter season, one that rivaled the infamous winters of 1976-77 and 1980-81. Poor snowfall exacerbated the economic situation (resorts reported that business was down 4.5%) and led to rotten conditions (literally) for backcountry skiers, snowboarders, and snowmobilers.

The challenge faced by the CAIC forecasters was to convince backcountry users that avalanche danger was lurking, even with the shallow snow cover. Despite our best efforts, eight people died by avalanche. This was sobering proof that shallow snow is weak snow, and may be dangerous snow.

On a more positive note, this winter marked the 10th anniversary of the CAIC’s contract with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to provide avalanche forecast services for Colorado’s mountain highways. This has proven to be a valuable and efficient program, with an excellent safety record both for the public and for CDOT maintenance personnel who must work in challenging, and potentially dangerous, conditions.