We had the good fortune of connecting with Zach Guy and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Zach, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Thinking about risk is my job in a nutshell. As an avalanche forecaster, my morning routine is to assess avalanche hazards and describe them to the public so that they can adequately manage risk. Then I head out into the field and make constant risk management decisions with my partners as we navigate through the mountains under dynamic conditions. I think about risk in its most basic form: likelihood and consequences. I feel far more comfortable skiing a steep slope that has a high likelihood but low consequence chance of avalanche versus the opposite. Another concept I consider is confidence. How sure am I about my assessments? If my confidence is low, I reduce my exposure even further.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think I’ve found the perfect niche in my career as an avalanche forecaster. The job requires a detailed-oriented and scientific approach to data analysis, yet it also is helpful to have a creative approach to communicating hazards to the public, so that they can understand it in a meaningful way. Those are two areas that I seem to have a talent for. It’s certainly not easy to get into avalanche forecasting. It’s an attractive job if you love to travel in the backcountry, and there aren’t many forecaster jobs around the country. I went to grad school for snow science to get my foot into the door, but even then, I had to start as a volunteer intern in my first year after my master’s. I was lucky to end up in Crested Butte, where the community and avalanche industry all mesh together so well. Once people got to know my and understand my skillset, it was easier to get hired into my forecasting role.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Perfect day (if it’s the middle of winter) would be a backcountry ski tour into the Ruby Range. It’s quiet out there, beautiful, and rugged. Then we’d grab happy hour at the Brick Oven, dinner at the Sherpa Cafe, and then close down the jukebox at the Talk of the Town.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’ve been lucky to have a bunch of great mentors and peers that have helped me develop as an avalanche forecaster. There’s too many to list here, but I’d like to give a shoutout to my fellow forecast team, Evan Ross and Eric Murrow. Those guys are super dedicated to the cause, and we all challenge and support each other through what can be very stressful job.

Website: https://cbavalanchecenter.org/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cbavalanchecenter/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cbavalanchecenter/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/CBavalanche

Image Credits
Nolan Blunck

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