2019 Snow Intern Recap by Tyler Lampard

The Undergrad Snow Internship Program has been hosting undergraduates at the CU Mountain Research Station for over 20 years. It’s a fantastic opportunity to gain research experience and apply snow science skills learned in the pre-requisite course GEOG 4321 – Snow Hydrology.  Due to the continuous long term collection of snowpack data collected through this program, many published papers have used the internship’s data. The collection points in the Subalpine (C1) and the Alpine Tundra (Niwot Saddle) provide a snow profile across an elevation gradient that is supported by metrological data and the Niwot SNOTEL Station.

This year with the help of the LTER staff, Ph.D candidate Katherine Hale, and Dr. Molotch, the students worked hard to hiking uphill in varying weather conditions; high winds, blowing snow and the occasional sunny day to collect snow measurements from C1 and the Niwot Saddle. The varying harsh weather conditions on Niwot Ridge give the students experience in backcountry decision making and understanding the threshold of collecting good data when conditions are not ideal. Their decision making is supported by training in Wilderness First Aid and understanding of the research site’s protected areas and emergency procedures if events were to turn bad.

For those interested, the snow internship is available through the Geography Department for course credit on an annual to biannual basis.

Kelly Loria