POSITION:  Avalanche Forecaster

PAY:  $23.00-$30.00 DOE, Seasonal Full-time or Part-time

START DATE: November 2023

LOCATION: Eastern Sierra, California. The ESAC forecast area extends from the Virginia Lakes area to Bishop Creek and is adjacent to the communities of Mammoth Lakes, June Lake, and Bishop, California.


Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center (ESAC) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inform and educate the public on avalanche conditions in the backcountry of the Eastern Sierra Nevada of California. The primary purpose of the Avalanche Forecaster position is to collect and analyze field, snow, and weather data to provide public avalanche advisories for backcountry winter users in the ESAC forecast area.   


The Avalanche Forecaster job duties and responsibilities include but are not limited to the following. Additional duties may be required. Duties will be performed from a home office and in the field within the ESAC forecast area.

  • Field Work and Data Collection: Collect field data on snow, weather, and avalanche conditions and ensure appropriate data is collected to inform avalanche forecasts. Practice established mountain and avalanche safety measures while collecting field data. Communicate with ESAC observers as needed and assist with maintaining the Center’s Observer Network.
    • Data Analysis, Avalanche Forecasting, and Technical Writing: Work with forecasters to analyze snow, weather, and avalanche observations and determine current and future trends in avalanche danger. Prepare and publish accessible and technically accurate public safety products on backcountry avalanche conditions. This may include daily avalanche advisories or multi-day snowpack summaries. Assist with the preparation of content for the End of Season Report. Prepare written summaries of specific events, avalanche incidents, and other content as assigned.
    • Community Education and Outreach: Assist or lead in the content development and presenting public avalanche awareness events as directed. Participate and assist with outreach, interagency collaboration efforts, and events as directed. Attend the Center’s Annual Event and assist with fundraising or marketing efforts as directed. Assist with the education content development for the Center’s website and social media, including photo and video documentation of backcountry conditions and observations.



Minimum Qualifications:

  • Knowledge of snow science and avalanche forecasting methods and principles
  • Professional avalanche training such as National Avalanche School, Level III, AVPRO, AAA Pro2, CAA Level II, or equivalent training course
  • Ability to collect field snow and weather observations and conduct snow stability analysis using snow pits and other standard techniques
  • Ability to interpret and analyze snowpack, avalanche, and meteorological data from various sources
  • Expert skills in winter non-motorized backcountry travel and avalanche safety protocol
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Technical writing experience
  • Experience with MS Windows, Google Apps, and web-based software
  • Excellent fitness

Desired Qualifications:

  • Operational avalanche forecasting experience
  • Undergraduate or graduate degree in earth or physical science or engineering
  • Search and rescue experience
  • Ski industry or backcountry guiding experience
  • Experience with avalanche education
  • Current Wilderness First Responder and CPR certification
  • Skills with digital media, including the taking, editing, and publishing of photographs and videos
  • Familiarity with terrain in ESAC’s forecast zone
  • American Avalanche Association Pro membership


  • Employees must be willing and able to follow the Center’s Employee Policies and Standard Operating Procedures when performing all duties.
  • Employees must be willing to relocate to the Eastern Sierra for the winter season.
  • Ability to work full-time or part-time as required, including weekends and holidays, early mornings, and evening hours.
  • Must possess and maintain a valid driver’s license.
  • This position will require winter driving. Employees must provide their own transportation in an appropriate and insured vehicle for winter travel throughout the ESAC forecast Area. Employees are eligible for mileage reimbursement from an approved place of residence.
  • Ability to travel safely in winter conditions in mountainous environments for required fieldwork.
  • Must possess equipment suitable for backcountry winter travel in avalanche terrain (Personal Protective Equipment Allowance is provided).