ISSW boasts big names in avalanche industry

This week Alaska hosted the 2012 International Snow Science Workshop at the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage.


It was the first time the state has ever hosted the ISSW, which has taken place once every two years since 1976. This year’s event welcomed participants from 14 different countries.

Ron Simenhois, a local avalanche forecaster from Juneau said representation from the Juneau community was strong. Simenhois was even selected to speak at the conference.

“This is a big deal for us avalanche folks,” he said in an email this week. “This conference is where the biggest avalanche experts in the world meet and exchange ideas.”

Matt Murphy, an avalanche forecaster with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, said hosting the conference was a privilege.

“All the latest scientific research was presented to avalanche professionals from around the world,” he said. “Alaska was able to showcase some of our avalanche challenges to this audience.”

ISSW provides the avalanche industry a forum to discuss theories, explore innovative concepts, and maintain the state-of-the-art practice in the field of avalanche work. The conference is designed to bring together such practitioners as ski patrollers, mountain guides, transportation avalanche forecasters, engineers and scientists who teach and research snow science.

The workshop also offers an opportunity for local mountain user groups to participate in a higher level learning environment and check out the latest avalanche forecasting tools and winter safety products. Additional information may be found online at


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