Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Utah's First Mountain Meteorologist

We have a saying in science that there's "nothing new under the sun."  Truly original ideas are rare and we all stand on the shoulders of giants when it comes to advancing knowledge and understanding.

Today all Utah mountain meteorologists, especially those who align their weather passions with backcountry skiing adventures, stand on the shoulders of S. D. Green.  Green was a forecaster with the U.S. Weather Bureau (the predecessor to the National Weather Service) who was also an avid backcountry skier.  He toured in the Wasatch Mountains long before lifts were installed at Brighton or Alta.

It was Green who recognized the unique snow climate of the Cottonwood Canyons.  Based on his backcountry ski adventures, he stated in 1935 that "skiers will eventually find that the Brighton Basin, or the heads of the [Cottonwood] canyons within a short radius of this winter paradise, offer the best skiing to be found in the Wasatch Mountains."

Several of Green's photographs are part of the ski archives collection at the Marriott Library, all taken in the 1930s.  Have a look.  The dude was an adventurer, and he wasn't doing it on Dynafit tech bindings and rocker skis.

Special thanks to Alexis Kelner for featuring S. D. Green and the quote above in his book Skiing in Utah: A History.

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