Powder Patrollers: How Alta Ski Area Tames Its Hazardous Mountain

Snow science, skiing, and satisfaction: It may be hard work, but these ski patrollers know the job is worth it in the end.

Alta Ski Area has been called the birthplace of avalanche research in North America. This 6-minute episode of “Steeped in Tradition” brings us an inside look at the patrol that keeps the slopes running — from the patrollers on the mountain to the history behind it.

Forecasting weather, tracking snowpack, working as a team — each day, each winter presents a challenge. Without mitigation, the avalanche hazard at this high-elevation resort would make it all but impossible to ski. So naturally, the team of patrollers takes their jobs pretty seriously.

Want to know about how snow science keeps resorts alive? This video gives a perfect glimpse into the wonders of snowpack and the conditions that form the perfect powder.

Filmed and produced by Sweetgrass Productions, “Steeped in Tradition” is a year-long, ongoing series that features profiles on local skiers, historical accounts of the mountain’s terrain, and more.

Katie Burrell and four other skiers skinning uphill
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Mary Murphy

Mary is based out of GearJunkie's Denver, CO office. She has a degree in English and Journalism, and been writing professionally for over four years. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.

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