Colorado Ski Hall of Fame – Knox Williams for 2007


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | April 25, 2007      

Back this morning after a dawn patrol. We indeed have a weather window today but the snow is not matted down yet and breakable crust abounds. Fun anyway, especially when you dump your skis and poles out of the pickup bed because you forgot to close the tailgate — and only notice this when you get to the trailhead. But that’s a story the details of which will remain untold (it turned out okay). On to today’s burning issue:

Colorado Ski Hall of Fame inductees vote every year to determine which candidates enter the hall. We get mailed a stack of candidate applications and a ballot for five picks.

Knox Williams
Knox Williams

Most candidates are ski industry figures or racers and it’s hard to sort through those for a backcountry boy like me, but at least one wild snow oriented person is usually included. This year’s backcountry candidate is Knox Williams, co-author of “The Avalanche Book,” and the man who more than anyone is behind Colorado having years of quality avalanche education and hazard forecasting. Few people know that Knox started his Colorado avalanche work in the state way back in 1967, thus having an amazingly long career in the field that continues to the present. His devotion is much of the reason we have the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) still doing their avalanche forecasting and excellent educational outreach that’s no doubt saved many lives over past decades.

Indeed, I attribute much of my own avalanche safety education to Knox, as everything from his book to the CAIC educational system has contributed to my knowledge base. I’m certain all this has helped keep me alive though years of avalanche terrain meanders.

If any other Hall of Famers are reading this, I hope you voted for Knox!

Knox Williams Books from our Backcountry Skiing Book List

Williams, Knox and Betsy Armstrong. The Avalanche Book. Fulcrum Press, 1986.
(Excellent overview, should be in every backcountry skier’s collection.)
Shop for The Avalanche Book

Williams, Knox and Armstrong, Betsy. The Snowy Torrents: Avalanche Accidents , United States, 1972-1979. Teton Bookshop Publishing, 1984.
(This classic of accident reporting changed the way we look at avalanches, includes many of the famous early accidents that helped inform today’s avalanche safety methods.)
Shop for Snowy Torrents: Avalanche Accidents in the United States 1972-1979



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Comments

5 Responses to “Colorado Ski Hall of Fame – Knox Williams for 2007”

  1. Halsted April 25th, 2007 11:19 am

    Thanks Lou for your vote for Knox.

    Knox really is “the man,” that got the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) up and running in Colorado.

    I know that one of the requirements for a Ski Hall of Fame inductee, is that they did something to really benifit the Colorado ski industry and the state of Colorado as awhole.

    Without Knox and the CAIC most of the ski areas along I-70 wouldn’t see much business. CDOT would have to close down the highway a lot more then they currently have to, if it wasn’t for the avalanche forecasting and control programs that Knox helped develope.

    Knox has also been a leading figure in avalanche forecasting, education and research; not only in the US but worldwide. Because of Knox’s hard work and drive the CAIC is recognized worldwide as one of the leading US avalanche forecasting centers.

    Knox really deserves to be a member of the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame.

    Cheers,
    Halsted

  2. frank April 25th, 2007 12:46 pm

    Sounds like an excellent choice to me.

    “The Snowy Torrents” belongs on every backcountry skier’s bookshelf, it is truly a wealth of information and I hope that another volume is released someday.

  3. Kelly April 26th, 2007 5:12 am

    Lou,

    Great vote! Knox has created a great thing and deserves recognition for years of dedication.

    Just a quick CAIC moment, friends of mine and I while at CU years ago wanted to ski the Professor on Loveland Pass, one of our first backcountry tries. We contacted CAIC and someone (I forget their name) met us in the parking lot after his shift to go over maps and talk to us about avy safety. I’ll never forget how that guy went out of his way to help us.

    Good Luck to Knox,
    Kelly

  4. Eric April 29th, 2007 5:56 am

    Knox is THE leading figure in backcountry avalanche safety. Without his tireless efforts, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center simply would not exist. I believe that he is personnaly responsible for saving lives through proactive education on this topic. He has very high standards and vast knowledge. I’ve had the pleasure of spending a couple of days with Knox in one of the 10th Mountain Division huts during an avalanche training event as well as participating in multiple lectures and clinics on the topic of avalanche safety. His words have rung in my ears on multiple occasions when go/no go decisions are being made in the backcountry. He has been a huge contributor to the ski industry both for on and off-piste enthusiasts and I hope that he wins this honorable distinction.

  5. Steve April 30th, 2007 8:12 am

    That’s great Lou! It will no doubt be a landslide in favor of Knox, I know of very few folks that are as deserving such recognition as he is. He has always been one open to sharing knowledge and has offered much encouragement and insight over his career. I was a budding young ski patroller with a couple of new snow safety tools when I first walked into his office in 1980. He took the time to share as much helpful information with me as he could without hesitation. This enthusiasm and his humility has truely made winter backcountry recreation a better and safer endevour.

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