Well not really. Or maybe there is one? Lemme ask Google real quick… huh. Turns out “Take Your Spouse to Work Day” is December 14th. Good to know. We all just learned something. Anyway. Essentially I have to work some weekends. Most of the time however if I do have to work it can be a field day. A field day, while maybe not exciting for a park rat or someone only looking for 45° couloirs, can certainly be a nice day to be outside in the snow.
A general field day will go something like this.. Get up early, check online resources for snow conditions. Find a willing ski partner (optional). Determine gaps in our knowledge or uncertainties in our current forecast. Plan a day to the hills that targets the uncertainty so we can improve our online public safety product. Ski up there, make observations pertinent to the objective for the day. Often these objectives require a bit of digging to observe buried weak layers in the snow. We dig a “pit”, essentially an anally square hole in the snow, or as I like to refer to it as “my cubical” and then poke and prod and perform various tests to get a clearer picture of what is going on in the snowpack. The video below is an example of a snowpack test that can give us insight into whether a collapsed weak layer in the snowpack will propagate into a larger avalanche.
When field work is all said and done I flail my way back to the car (learning to ski this season) and head back in to draw up a pit profile and summarize the day’s info into a public observation. These observations are hugely important for the forecaster back at the office who needs to quickly assimilate loads of data coming in from all over the state to put out a clear message on the avalanche danger for various zones around Colorado.