Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies

Swamp Angel Study Site
Swamp Angel Study Plot (subalpine)

Senator Beck Study Site
Senator Beck Study Plot (alpine)

Putney Study Site
Putney Study Plot (summit)

Senator Beck Basin Stream Gauge
Basin Stream Gauge

St Paul Basestation
St. Paul RF Base Station

The Center for Snow & Avalanche Studies serves the mountain science community and regional resource managers by hosting & conducting interdisciplinary research and conducting integrative 24/7/365 monitoring that captures weather, snowpack, radiation, soils, plant community and hydrologic signals of regional climate trends.

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WHY I SUPPORT CSAS:"CSAS provides vital information for understanding the critical issues of our time - issues like water usage, environmental policy, and global warming - all of which have huge implications for the future.  Venture is proud to support this research, which will help preserve our mountains for the next generation.”  
Lisa Branner, Venture Snowboards

Annual Letter to Friends of CSAS
November 18, 2011

We started the Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies in 2003 because, unlike most Alpine Nations, the U.S. lacked a field-based organization focused on mountain snow science. Why is that important? Because mountains are natural water towers, providing up to 80% of our Western water supply through seasonal snow melt. And without rigorous mountain monitoring systems, we are at risk of missing important signals of regional climate change.

Since its founding 8 years ago, CSAS has quickly made unique contributions in mountain climate change monitoring and science.  The research we host and the data we collect are telling important stories to climate modelers, hydrologists, and snow scientists from around the world.

CSAS has been honored to receive funding and accolades from the National Science Foundation, American Avalanche Association, NASA, USGS, and many Colorado and Federal water management agencies. Our data and findings have been published in top academic journals and contributed to several PhDs. However, while government funding covers short-term research projects (like dust-on-snow), those programs have not funded our 24/7/365 mountain system monitoring efforts.

For now we continue to absolutely rely on private donations to sustain our core work − the day-in, day-out collection of mountain snow, weather and climate data. Each year we are humbled and grateful to receive generous gifts from individuals and small businesses that care about mountains, snow and climate. We hope you’ll join our Friends in supporting another season of critical work that needs doing!

Chris Landry - Executive Director


"CSAS is proactively addressing a gap in American monitoring of alpine landscapes. I am personally very excited by CSAS’ emergence in this field”
 Jonathan Overpeck, 2007 IPCC Team Nobel Laureate, University of Arizona

"I support CSAS because Senator Beck Basin is the best study site in North America for high alpine snow research.  The quality of the data CSAS collects makes it an ideal location for snow research as well as field-based teaching.  I will continue to bring students from Boise State University here every winter - what an amazing place to work, and CSAS is top-notch!"
Hans-Peter Marshall,
Geoscientist, Boise State University

"CSAS provides me with crucial data and observations that allow me to study our fast-changing mountain snowpacks. Believe it or not, we have very little data flowing from mountain areas - CSAS is breaking ground here."
Jeff Deems, Researcher, Nat’l Snow & Ice Data Center

"I support CSAS because I depend on their reliable, high-quality and important snowpack and environmental data."
Art Mears, P.E., Natural Hazards Engineer

“Climate change equals changing snow pack, which affects people, plants and ecosystems.  We depend on programs like the CSAS to determine the rate mountain systems are changing.”  
Heidi Steltzer, Alpine & Arctic Ecologist

"There aren’t many independent non-profit field research stations, but CSAS is one – and probably the most distinctive, by virtue of its mountain system monitoring mission.  That independence allows for a wide variety of hosted research, but little sustainable institutional funding.  As climate change continues, the 24/7/365 observations CSAS provides from its mid-latitude alpine location in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado are increasingly valuable to researchers across the northern hemisphere.”
Don Bachman, Retired Avalanche Professional