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An Economist, a Meteorologist, and an Avalanche Forecaster Walk into a Bar….

In this podcast, we sit down with the retired economist Peter Donner and retired meteorologist Larry Dunn to discuss the Nature of Forecasting…

Managing Risk with Avalanches, Managing Risk With A Pandemic – A Conversation with state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn

The second episode is a conversation on risk, public safety messaging, and resilience—not with an avypro, but with Utah state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn. Dr. Dunn has been at the forefront with the fight against Covid-19 in Utah and knows a bit about the bottom line, vulnerability, and exposure.

On the Efficacy of Avalanche Airbags and New Research – A Conversation with Dr. Scott McIntosh and Black Diamond’s Andy Merriman

In this episode, we sit down with Dr. Scott McIntosh and Black Diamond’s Andy Merriman to talk about, well first, good decision making, but then, in the event you get caught in an avalanche, how and why an airbag can potentially help you avoid the worst consequences. In particular, we’re taking about BD’s innovative JetForce Pro Avalanche AirbagA study conducted by Dr. McIntosh et al. suggests the JetForce Pro pack could significantly delay asphyxia, buying buried backcountry users valuable additional time for rescue.

On Having Systems for the Backcountry – A Conversation with Sarah Carpenter

Sarah Carpenter is a co-owner of the American Avalanche Institute.  She teaches avalanche courses to both recreationists and professionals and loves sharing her excitement about the winter environment with others.  Sarah also works as a ski guide in the Tetons.  She lives in Victor, ID with her husband, Don, in a house they built together (with a lot of help).  She says her favorite place to ski is in wild, remote places with people that she cares about.  “I truly love powder skiing and you can typically find me by following the laughter as I ski downhill.”

The Message and the Messenger – A Conversation about Marketing and Manipulation with Alex Hamlin

In this podcast, we sit down with Alex Hamlin.  For over fifteen years, Alex Hamlin has worked at the intersection of storytelling and outdoor sport, with experience at magazines, global retail brands and creative agencies. He is currently a partner at Salt Lake City-based brand agency 7D8 (, but before that, Alex was the Creative Director at Black Diamond Equipment.  In our conversation, we talk about the psychology behind marketing (and influencing behavior change), with a particular eye toward marketing safety.  Alex talks about what storytelling means as a way of establishing connections as this was central to his philosophy in producing and directing the exceptional BDTV series from a few years ago.  The One-Seven-Six episode was particularly meaningful to Drew. 

Mastery and False Mastery – A Conversation with Big Don Sharaf

In this podcast, we sit down with Don Sharaf.  Don is a long time avalanche professional and is one of the owners of the American Avalanche Institute. With his experience as a forecaster for Valdez Heliski Guides, the town of Juneau, and others, we tease apart expertise and mastery from, well, its opposite. We hope you like it.

Risk, Reward, and the Big Lie – A Conversation with Doug Workman

In this podcast, we sit down with Doug Workman.  An alpine guide, Doug is the real deal when it comes international ski guiding. He’s been taking risks on the snow since he was a toddler learning to ski at Powder Ridge in Connecticut. Since then, he has found many other places to experiment with risk and risk management: Alaska, Pakistan, Iceland, China, Morocco, Svalbard, Antarctica, and right in his backyard, the Tetons. He makes his home in Jackson, Wyoming with his wife and two children where he works as a Mountain Guide and Avalanche Program Manager for Mammut North America.

The Message and the Messengers – A Conversation with Alex Hamlin

Alex Hamlin is a partner at the marketing firm 7D8, and the former creative director at Black Diamond. Alex says that he works to create meaning, not content. He joins Drew to discuss: the power of stories; the critical importance of messaging; influencing behavior; honesty; the messenger’s credibility; democratizing avalanche information; riding on red days; riding sans beacon; the stories we carry into the backcountry; communicating with a growing and changing population of backcountry users.

Breaking the Stigma of Trauma – A Conversation with Dave Richards

In this podcast, we talk again with Dave Richards, head of Alta Snow Safety.  In the fall of 2017, Dave gave a presentation at the Utah Snow and Avalanche Workshop to a packed house of 600 people on the real dangers of traumatic stress with public safety personnel, particularly in avalanche rescue.  This was ground breaking for our industry because it wasn’t just the message, it was the messenger that made it so impactful. 

The Risks and Rewards of Ski Patrol – A Conversation with Jake Hutchinson

Jake Hutchinson was a long-time patroller and snow safety director at the Park City resort formerly known as The Canyons. He’s also lead-avalanche instructor for AAI. He joins Drew to talk about the risks and rewards of managing avalanche risk for the resort-skiing public. Discussed in this episode: mitigation practices; the evolution of ski patrol culture; the pressures to open terrain; the story of a fatal in-bounds avalanche in 2007 and the ensuing legal battle; the lasting pain of bad consequences.

The Wise Ones – A Conversation About Mentorship with Eeva Latosuo and Aleph Johnston-Bloom

In this podcast, we sit down with Eeva Latosuo and Aleph Johnston-Bloom to discuss the role and importance of mentorship in the greater avalanche community.  We talk about how mentorship influences workplace safety and culture and map out our different roles and responsibilities over the arc of one’s career.  Their research included interviewing scores of professionals – both young and old – and finding commonalities and themes within the concept of mentorship in the avalanche profession.  

A Lifetime in the Mountains – A Conversation with Tom Kimbrough

In this podcast, we talk with retired UAC forecaster and Jenny Lake climbing ranger Tom Kimbrough. Tom has spent a lifetime in the mountains.When asked what has kept him alive all this time, his answer, without hesitation: “Luck.” We explore ideas about lifetime exposure to risk, what it’s like now seeing his son Paul climbing and skiing at such a high level, and what role Buddhism has played in his life as a climber, as a skier, and as a soon-to-be octogenarian.We talk about what has changed over the years in snow science and the role of mentorship in the world of forecasting and other professions and pursuits.

Low Danger – Perspectives From the Field

On Saturday, January 5, the danger rating in the Salt Lake area went Low. As you’d expect, people got out after it. By day’s end there were eight skier-triggered avalanches, with four people caught and carried in separate events, and one visit to the ER. In this episode, we put one of those accidents under the microscope and examine how the forecast affects decision making. Our guests: Forecaster Greg Gagne, backcountry skiers Vlad Pascu and Jackie Long, Professor Russ Costa, and researcher Laura Maguire.