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In 2017, nine snowboarders made their way into the backcountry of Utah’s Uinta Range for a day of intense adventure in the midst of a blizzard. The snowboarders’ day soon changed from one of amazing runs to a scramble for survival as they woke the sleeping dragon—an avalanche.
Author Ed Power joins us in conversation with expert avalanche forecaster Craig Gordon to tell the tale of the snowboarders’ stunning rescue, and delves into the research and science behind avalanche forecasting. Drawing from his book, Dragons in the Snow: Avalanche Detectives and the Race to Beat Death in the Mountains, Power introduces us to the fascinating people—including Craig Gordon—who have made the study of avalanches their life’s work. Together they share stories of triumph and tragedy for backcountry skiers and riders who chase the allure of risk. They invite us to a compelling journey into avalanche territory, and hope to raise awareness in everyone who plays in the winter backcountry.
Edward Power is a former staff writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as a staff writer, editor, general manager and publisher for The Virginian-Pilot newspaper group. After he and his wife moved from Virginia to the mountains of Northern Utah, Power met Craig Gordon, who had just come from the site of the January 2017 avalanche scenario that Power describes in the book, and intrigued by Gordon and his profession, Power decided to pursue a book about the backcountry world.
Craig Gordon is the sole avalanche forecaster for the western Uinta Mountains–an area accessed primarily by snowmobile–and also handles much of the avalanche education for snowmobile groups. Gordon has done avalanche control for Brighton Ski Area in Utah since the mid 1980’s and then worked as a helicopter ski guide. He has worked for the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center since 2000.
Winner of the 2020 National Outdoor Book Award
Presented by Town Hall Seattle.