Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Skibbatical Plans

Innsbruck.  Host city of the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympic Games.
The Wasatch Weather Weenies blog will be taking a road trip next winter and spring as I have received a Fulbright Award and will be serving as a Visiting Professor of Natural Sciences at the University of Innsbruck. 

What an opportunity.  Innsbruck sits in the heart of the Tyrol within where the Wipptal (Wipp Valley) meets the Inn Valley.  

Looking southward at Innsbruck and the Wipptal under "Foehn" conditions (warm southerly flow).  The Brenner Pass
to Italy is shrouded in cloud.
The University of Innsbruck has one of the strongest atmospheric sciences programs in Europe and its Institute of Atmospheric and Cryospheric Sciences is known worldwide.  When I think of Universities with a ideal settings for mountain meteorology and snow science, the University of Innsbruck immediately comes to mind. 

I will be developing and teaching a four-credit graduate level class tentatively called Cool-Season Precipitation: Fundamentals and Applications.  Although I will be able to draw on some material form my courses at the University of Utah, this is largely a new course for me, so I anticipate it won't be all fun and games.  I also hope to strengthen existing research partnerships and forge new collaborations with faculty and graduate students at the Institute.

We are planning to be in Innsbruck for 4-5 months, beginning in January of February, so there will be some skiing, sightseeing, mountain dining, and adult beverages.  I have skied in Austria once previously, but suggestions appreciated, especially for ski touring. 

As far as this blog is concerned, I suspect we'll do some reporting on European skiing and weather.  On the plus side for you, if the Steenburgh Effect is as robust as we all suspect, next year might not be so good in Austria, but it could be a banner year in Utah.  


  1. Congratulations Jim! I look forward to reading your posts from Innsbruck and also to our banner year in Utah next Winter!


    This guy should have some ideas on where to ski, I have used his site before and he has aome pretty good tips. He responds to emails quickly. Good luck!

  3. Lots of good skiing around St Anton, but not sure what sort of avalanche center/monitoring folks they have.
    Also check out Damul - it's a really nice spot.

  4. Check out

    Fraser explains some of the basics of weather patterns in the Alps, updates current conditions with a short term forecast every few days, and has short summaries of overall snow reliability characteristics of about 150 locations in the Alps.

    The smaller areas north of the Arlberg like Warth and Damuks are the snowiest resorts in the Alps.

    In general Austrian resorts are lower than farther west and thus don’t do as well in late season. Ischgl has the most terrain favorable in late season for altitude and North exposure.

  5. I recommend Piste-to-Powder guides to get athe best terrain and snow in the Arlberg.

    Warth averages 429 inches, #1 in the Alps for a resort.

    While you’re over there you might want to check out the Sonnblick Observatory. At 10,000 feet it averages 650+ Nov-Apr and almost 900 for the entire year.

  6. And yes that’s inches not cm at Sonnblick!

  7. Congratulations Professor! Get after it!