The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) is a program within the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Executive Director’s Office. The program is a partnership between the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Department of Transportation (CDOT), and the Friends of the CAIC (FoCAIC) a 501c3 group. The mission of the CAIC is to provide avalanche information, education and promote research for the protection of life, property and the enhancement of the state’s economy.
Since 1950 avalanches have killed more people in Colorado than any other natural hazard, and in the United States, Colorado accounts for one-third of all avalanche deaths. The Colorado Avalanche Warning Center began issuing public avalanche forecasts in 1973 as part of a research program in the USDA-Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station. The program moved out of the federal government and into the Colorado state government, becoming part of the Department of Natural Resources in 1983. The CAIC joined the Colorado Department of Transportation’s highway safety program in 1993. The Friends of the CAIC (a 501c3 group) formed in 2007 to promote avalanche safety in Colorado and support the recreation program of the CAIC.
Director of Colorado Avalanche Information Center
Ethan has directed the CAIC since 2005. He has approached snow and avalanches from both a practical and theoretical perspective. He grew up in Boulder skiing Colorado’s Front Range. After a few winters in the San Juan Mountains, he worked at Big Sky Ski Resort in Montana as a ski patroller and at the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center in Salt Lake City as an avalanche forecaster.
Ethan also studied meteorology at the University of Utah (BS) and snow drift formation at Colorado State University (MS). He has spent a lot of time looking at the microstructure of snow and its metamorphism in very large freezers in Colorado and Switzerland (PhD). Ethan has published a variety of articles on snow, weather and avalanches and been a member of national and international working groups on snow and avalanche projects. Ethan lives in Leadville.