The 8th annual MSU Snow and Avalanche Workshop returns on Oct. 26, 2022 from 5-10pm in SUB Ballroom A!

This year will mark the 8th year of Montana State University’s Snow and Avalanche Workshop, a collaborative event free of charge for any interested attendees.  Presentations will be recorded and posted to this website as well as live streamed. 

Presentations will benefit attendees of all experience levels.  Join us for this incredible learning opportunity just in time for the start of the winter season!  No registration is required.

Details from 2021: 

Recording from our November 4, 2021 presentation available here:


Matt Caires:

Matt Caires, MSU’s dean of students, will offer a welcome at the SAW this year.  He will briefly recognize the history of student ski-related injuries and fatalities that he’s help to manage during his time on campus.  And, how MSU has advanced snow safety initiatives as a result of these incidents.  Matt is an avid telemark backcountry skier who cannot make alpine turns in powder or on hardpack.  His greatest joy is spending time with his family in the outdoors, stoking his four year-old daughter’s passion for skiing powder. 

Kaylin Green:

Does avalanche education work? This talk will discuss a cutting-edge research project on avalanche education. It will identify the skills and knowledge participants learned from an introductory avalanche course in southwest Montana during the 2020-2021 season. The talk will highlight innovative findings that showed improvements in avalanche risk assessment and gains in assessment confidence among course participants.  Furthermore, impacts on decision-making (that is, to ski or not ski a slope) will be described. Important take-away messages will explain how backcountry riders and avalanche educators can use this information. Dr. Kaylin Greene is an Associate Professor of Sociology in the department of Sociology and Anthropology at Montana State University. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University in 2009 and 2013, respectively. Dr. Greene’s research examines risky health behaviors and daily activities during young adulthood. Her work focuses on improving well-being and is defined by its interdisciplinary nature and methodological complexity and range. When she isn’t working, Kaylin enjoys exploring the outdoors in beautiful Montana with her husband and two young kids.

Mike Buotte: Warm Storms- When the Pacific Northwest visits SW Montana

Talk will give a general overview of stability considerations and hazards presented, and potential hazard mitigation, when storms come in at or near freezing. Focus is on backcountry travel and recreation. Mike Buotte is the Snow Safety Director at Big Sky Resort. This coming season will be his 26th season as a professional ski patroller, and 30th ski season in SW Montana.  Mike is an avid backcountry recreationalist, with many long days spent skiing powder and avoiding (so far…) avalanches in the local mountains. He is from Rumford, Maine and lives in Big Sky.

Alexis Alloway and Dave Zinn: 

Join GNFAC avalanche forecaster Dave Zinn as he interviews Alexis Alloway, local author of the brand new book, Avalanche Search and Rescue: A Backcountry Field Guide. Alexis will give a brief overview of this unique educational resource and she will also share some backcountry safety tips from her 15+ years of experience as an avalanche educator, NOLS instructor and SAR volunteer.  

Alexis Alloway is the author of Avalanche Search and Rescue: A Backcountry Field Guide. A professional member of the American Avalanche Association, she has been teaching avalanche education courses since 2006, including for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), the Northwest Avalanche Center, Everett Mountain Rescue, Big Sky Backcountry Guides, and the Friends of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center. She served as a volunteer mountain rescuer for nearly a decade, with roles including Winter Training Coordinator, board member, Operations Leader and Field Team Leader. A professional outdoor and classroom-based educator for nearly two decades, Alexis excels at simplifying complex information and giving students tools to make information stick.

Alex Marienthal
Alex will briefly discuss the GNFAC's website and forecast products, and then review a selection of local avalanche terrain and avalanche accidents.
Jesse Coil: stay safe stay out of the hospital!

A native of Bozeman, Dr. Coil graduated from Montana State University and the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed a traditional osteopathic internship and residency in emergency medicine at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Pennsylvania. Over the last decade Dr. Coil worked as a staff physician for the Medical Clinic of Big Sky and in the emergency department at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital. He is currently the medical director for Big Sky Ski Patrol and continues to practice emergency medicine at the Big Sky Medical Center. 

Attendees will be eligible to win prizes from Black Diamond, Backcountry Access, and Mammut!

To view archived presentations of past Snow and Avalanche Workshops, please visit our SAW Archives page here: SAW Archives

Eliza Slaying

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