Welcome to this website developed in partnership with the Friends of Tuckerman Ravine (FOTR), the Mount Washington Avalanche Education Foundation (WMAEF), the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol (MWVSP) and the US Forest Service. The goal of this collaboration is to increase public safety in the mountains during the snowy months.
Paid staff of MWAC are snow rangers employed by the Androscoggin Ranger District of the White Mountain National Forest. The partnership between the USFS and a number of non-profit groups along with community support makes this whole project work!
The Avalanche Center’s public safety priorities are three fold:
- Our primary focus from Oct/Nov until the end of May is to provide snow, weather and avalanche information for the Presidential Range through this website, social media and direct contact with folks in the field.
- The greatest difference between MWAC and other avalanche centers in the west is our responsibility as the lead agency for Search and Rescue. On December 1st of each year the Forest Service takes over responsibility from the State of New Hampshire for all incidents in the Cutler River Drainage on the east side of Mt. Washington.
- Our third emphasis is to serve as a professional avalanche resource for people seeking assistance with snow and avalanche safety in the east. MWAC staff and volunteers assist with research projects, present avalanche awareness programs, present at avalanche courses, provide information to reporters, work with our volunteer search and rescue groups, and coordinate team-based avalanche and mountain rescue trainings. We reach out to the public with presentations on rescue, snow science and mountain safety in multiple venues including the Annual Eastern Snow and Avalanche Workshop held every Fall.
The collaboration between the various stakeholders of MWAC and snow ranger staff makes clear the dedication to the beautiful and often harsh environment in the Presidential Range. Natures playground can be a source for joy and sometimes sorrow when things go wrong. Our shared mission at MWAC accentuates the Forest Service mission of “caring for the land and serving people”.
Nationally, the role of Snow Rangers has changed dramatically over the years, from field going forecasters and avalanche control specialists to administrating permits for ski areas on public lands. We have retained the important tradition of search and rescue and public contact in our highest use areas while ranging further afield to provide avalanche and mountain safety information for the Presidential Range. MWAC is the only official avalanche center in the US east of the Rockies with one Canadian avalanche center to our north in the Chic Choc Range. We are also the oldest backcountry avalanche forecasting program in the country. Backcountry skiing and winter climbing continue to grow in our area along with the need for avalanche education and forecasting for the range. The end goal is to reduce fatalities due to avalanches through our forecasting and outreach efforts.
Our ability to improve and meet varying demands is directly related to your questions, feedback, and suggestions over the years. Ultimately, MWAC is here to serve the community, so always feel comfortable approaching us and asking any questions that you may have. We look forward to seeing you in the mountains!
Frank Carus, Lead Snow Ranger