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Failure planes, depth hoar, induction lines, Rutschblocks. Even if you have no idea what we’re talking about, you probably know that avalanche safety is an extremely important topic in B.C. and other mountain regions around the world. Avalanche science has come a long way over the last three decades, and Scott Aitken has seen it all.
Scott in front of some Gazex avalanche detonator above the Duffey.
Scott is entering his 29th season as an avalanche technician for the B.C. Ministry of Transportation & Infrastructure’s Coast-Chilcotin section. The man is personally responsible for keeping our region’s roads safe from snow slides, including the renowned ski terrain above the notorious Duffey Lake Highway. You can bet he’s accumulated his share of stories over the years.
For a quick video tease of Scott working in the field, check this short clip “Avalanche Road” from photo/video magician Jordan Manley, profiling avalanche crews around the province (Scott and partner Doug Tuck appear about 1:35 in):
This Wednesday evening Scott will be coming into the Whistler Museum to kick off our winter Speaker Series with a presentation entitled “Avalanche Forecasting: A Thirty Year Retrospective.” The start of another glorious, snow-filled winter is the perfect time for a snow-safety refresher, but don’t come expecting a dull crystallography lecture (though I’m sure he’ll be happy to answer any technical questions).
Fairly typical work conditions for an Avy Tech.
Instead, Scott will offer a unique first-hand account of the life of a professional avalanche technician. These folks work pretty darn hard to keep our roads and surrounding mountains safe, but go completely unnoticed when they’re doing their jobs best. Wednesday’s presentation will provide you with a behind-the-scenes look into these unheralded efforts and broaden your perspective on the huge advancements in avalanche safety over the years.
Where: Whistler Museum (4333 Main Street, behind the Library)
When: Wednesday November 21st, Doors 6:15pm, Presentation 7pm
Tickets: 7$/$5 for Museum members. Advance tickets at museum or call 604-932-2019
Other: Cash Bar (19+), complimentary tea & coffee.
Stay tuned for announcements about upcoming Speaker Series events, to occur on the 3rd Wednesday of each month, January through April.