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Jim Frankenfield

Avalanche Safety Courses and Services

1338 Foothill Dr. #170; Salt Lake City, UT 84108
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Avalanche Bibliography - General Interest

This is a short bibliography of books focusing on avalanche safety at the general interest level. To purchase any of these books or videos, please visit the CSAC online avalanche store. The store also contains a description of each item. Proceeds support that extensive and important resource. You will also find many more items for sale there, from books and videos not listed here to almost every piece of recreational safety equipment available.


ABC of Avalanche Safety
E.R. LaChapelle
The Mountaineers

This was finally updated after a long time but still includes a few obsolete things such as mention of avalanche cords. However, it is small and short and to-the-point. It has more emphasis (in some respects implicitly) on climbing and on the northwestern US.

Snow Sense, A Guide to Evaluating. Snow Avalanche Hazard
J.A. Fredston and Doug Fesler
Alaska Mountain Safety Center

This book has become the standard introduction for the majority of recreational students in the US. Many schools and instructors recommend it or hand it out to all students in basic (or US Level 1) courses. It does an excellent job of addressing the "human factors" behind most incidents in addition to the more objective factors.

Avalanche Safety for Skiers and Climbers
Tony Daffern
Rocky Mountain Books

This book is longer and goes into more detail on topics such as crystal metamorphism than the above two books. It should be comfortable reading for most non-technical individuals interested more in recreational safety than hard science. This is a good book for students in or preparing for an advanced (US Level 2) course.

Avalanche Handbook
David McClung and Peter Schaerer
The Mountaineers

This often-mentioned book is considered to be the classic and standard reference. However, it is very technical and not especially well-organized for reading from beginning to end. Much of the material is scientific and of more interest to professionals than recreationalists. Highly recommended as a reference where you can look up almost anything, but don't rely on it to learn your basic safety skills.

Avalanche Awareness: A Question of Balance (Currently unavailable)
Alliance Communications.

This is an older video but still very well done. It's organization and clear presentation allow it to effectively convey a lot of sound introductory information in 30 minutes. I use this in my basic course because it is time effective. Only a few things hint at its vintage, such as the beacons which are used.

Beating the Odds
Canadian Avalanche Association

This video takes a dramatic approach, showing how events unfold during a day outdoors for three different groups with different training and attitudes. Very well done. The version for sale is about 50 minutes but a 30 minute version is available through the CAA by request. I use the short version of this video in my basic class as well.

Winning the Avalanche Game

This is a popular video covering basic safety. It is 60 minutes and is somewhat poorly organized. There appears to have been an effort to squeeze in every big name in the profession, even though they don't always add much to a video of this nature. While I don't use this in courses due to its somewhat inefficient use of time I think many people enjoy renting or purchasing it for home viewing.

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