Bruce enjoying a day in the Wasatch backcountry, January 2015.

The Utah Avalanche Center has announced that Bruce Tremper is retiring from the Forest Service at the end of August.  Though he may tell you that he spent a bit too much time inside, he also typically found some time to enjoy the legendary Wasatch snow (see above).

 Bruce has been the Director of the Utah Avalanche Center for the past 29 years, and his influence has been felt throughout the avalanche industry both in the US and internationally.  His avalanche career began in Montana, where he earned his MS degree at Montana State University working with Dr. John Montagne.  He quickly took his work into the practical realm, doing avalanche control work at both Bridger Bowl and Big Sky.  He also worked as an avalanche forecaster at the Alaska Avalanche Center with Doug Fesler, Jill Fredston, and Jim Woodmency.  Bruce became the UAC Director in 1986, and continually strived to improve the products produced by the center for the public as our industry evolved from providing phone recorded avalanche advisories to a wide array of internet-based products.  He and the UAC were innovators throughout this process, introducing icons and avalanche problems to their advisories. 

Besides running the UAC, Bruce has always had a lot of other things on his plate.  He served as the editor for The Avalanche Review for six years and has published numerous papers, produced a number of avalanche safety videos, and wrote two great books on avalanches.  He was in charge of backcountry avalanche safety during Salt Lake’s 2002 Olympics, and has presented our agency in the most positive light with hundreds of media interviews.  He has taught at the National Avalanche School for decades, and he was a member of the working group that developed the conceptual model of avalanche danger and associated avalanche danger scale in 2010.

Luckily for all of us, Bruce plans to continue teaching, writing, and working on avalanche safety projects, so we are hoping he won’t be too much of a stranger.  However, I suspect the folks in the Wasatch and elsewhere will see Bruce and his wife Susi out skiing in the backcountry even more than before.  Just so you know, you are going to have to stay in good shape if you want to try to keep up with them.  Please join me in congratulating Bruce on his retirement from our agency, and wishing him the best in his future work and play!

With Bruce’s impending  retirement, the UAC also announced that Mark Staples has been hired as the new Director. Mark’s background includes ski patrolling and snow safety work at Big Sky Ski Area, a MS degree in Engineering at Montana State University doing snow avalanche research, several special projects for the National Avalanche Center, and eight seasons of backcountry avalanche forecasting at the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center. Mark is looking forward to joining the top-notch UAC team.


Incoming Utah Avalanche Center Director Mark Staples taking notes in the Hyalite Range south of Bozeman, Montana.