The Avalanche Review, December 2006
In 1971, the BLM funded a study by the University of Colorado’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) to learn about the behavior of snow and avalanches. The so-called San Juan Avalanche Project brought to sleepy Silverton an all-star team in the then relatively new world of American snow science.
This past October, at the biannual International Snow Science Workshop, hosted in Telluride, many of those heavy hitters—some of them since ascended to legendary status—gathered around a dinner table for an informal reunion.
State highway avalanche forecaster Jerry Roberts organized the dinner. Jerry and his buddy Tim Lane were the last INSTAAR observers, hanging on into the mid-1980s. For a few years they were the only residents of snow-bound Chattanooga, battling packrats, drinking in Silverton when they could, collecting data at “the office” on Red Mountain Pass, and pioneering many of the area’s powder lines.