Snow, Avalanche, and Weather Program

Weather Station

CVA hosts a Rainwise MK-III weather station on campus giving our community access to real-time weather data at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain.  

Snow Plot

CVA Backcountry Athletes operate a snow study plot to provide accurate snowfall data for the Carrabassett area.  This student-athlete run initiative allows hands-on experience with a practical snow and climate science operation and adds to the depth of our avalanche program and our student's understanding of avalanches and mountain weather. We hope this information is useful for you too!

Our snow study plot is standardized and adheres to the Observation Guidelines for United States Avalanche Programs (SWAG). Please note some periodic gaps in data due to our travel and school vacation schedule.

CVA Avalanche Education Program

School-wide program:
Each fall, all CVA athletes attend the BRASS 101 avalanche awareness course. Though we do not see avalanches right here at Sugarloaf, our athletes often experience bigger mountain ranges when they travel for training and competition. This presentation and training is designed to give our athletes a basic understanding of how avalanches occur, where they can happen, how to avoid them, and how to read a professional avalanche forecast to stay out of harm's way.
Throughout the year, our coaches and athletes have access to the knowledge and expertise of our Backcountry Skiing program for any questions or concerns about avalanche safety that might come up when traveling abroad. 

Backcountry Academy Program Avalanche Training
Avalanche education is at the forefront of our Backcountry program. Having an understanding of avalanche mechanics, interpreting weather and avalanche forecasts, navigating in the avalanche terrain, assessing current snow conditions, and being able to perform a rescue are all building blocks of knowing how to travel in the big mountains safely.  Our athletes get experience with these areas in spades. 
All athletes complete a minimum American Avalanche Association-approved Level 1 course.  Some of our senior athletes who show interest will take the Level 2 course. 

Our athletes and coaches understand that the learning doesn't stop after you take a course.  The formal course is actually just a snapshot of the learning and experience that happens throughout the rest of the year. It provides our athletes with a concrete foundation for roughly 50 or 60 backcountry days over the course of a winter season. During this time in the backcountry, our athletes are getting experience making decisions, planning routes, navigating, and evaluating the snowpack, under the mentorship of our professional coaching and guiding team who hold certifications including:
  • Professional Avalanche Level 2
  • Professional Avalanche Level 1
  • American Avalanche Association Pro Member
  • AMGA Apprentice Ski Guide
  • AMGA Apprentice Alpine Guide
  • Wilderness First Responder
  • Outdoor Emergency Care
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