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Passing on 50 seasons of avalanche knowledge

Alan Dennis completed his memoir Snow Nomad, which is now available in Revelstoke

Alan Dennis is passing on the knowledge he has gained through 50 seasons of avalanche forecasting all over the globe through his memoir, Snow Nomad, now available in Revelstoke.

After his long career spanning multiple continents, Dennis now spends his days above the tracks in Revelstoke with his dog.

“The dog and I, we’re pensioned off,” Dennis laughed. “Might as well write about it.”

Dennis has spent the last four years writing his memoir.

READ MORE: 60 years of avalanche control in Rogers Pass

He said his late parents were always on him to write one.

“They wouldn’t agree with all of it,” he laughed.

Dennis shares how avalanche work has changed over the last 40-50 years through his eyes. According to Dennis, the book is pretty personal, with nothing too technical for the average reader to understand.

His work took him all over the globe: from the peaks of New Zealand, to the mountain ranges of Argentina, Scotland, Alaska, and Canada.

Snow Nomad on display at Fable Book Parlour in Revelstoke. (Josh Piercey/Revelstoke Review)

“We really were 80 per cent intuitive, some analytical objective skills, but a lot of luck,” said Dennis. “That’s really changed a lot.”

Dennis says avalanche forecasting is still a lot of intuition, a trait that only comes with experience. “How can you measure that?” he added.

Dennis said the whole process of self-publishing had a learning curve. He said that you feel a little naked suddenly realizing someone you know may read what you’ve written.

“I’m not doing another book,” he said with a smile on his face.

The finished product is full of beautiful photographs Dennis took over the course of his career.

“Alan Dennis is not the only maverick working with avalanches, but he may be the only one to have forecast avalanches for 50 winters on four continents,” said Bruce Jamieson, professor emeritus at the University of Calgary, avalanche researcher and educator in the quote on the back of the book.

“This is a wonderful, quirky romp through his amazing career with avalanches, people and tales that should not be forgotten.”

Snow Nomad is available for purchase at Fable Book Parlour in Revelstoke or online through the FriesenPress Bookstore.

READ MORE: ‘She will be missed’: Ethel Bell, co-founder of Three Valley Gap hotel, dies at 88


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