Can we forecast the perfect ski day?☃

Tim Garrett

This project ended on:
31 December 2013
Have you ever complained about the forecast because the snowfall amount was so far from correct? Even the most sophisticated weather models rely upon snowflake formulas that base themselves on primitive measurements of a few hundred flakes captured in the the 1970s. The Alta Project brings snowflake science into the 21st century with a new camera system that automatically takes millions of high-resolution photos of snowflakes in mid-flight!


Budget Overview

Your contributions to this microryza project will cover upgrading the Multi Angle Snowflake Camera and deployment to Alta Ski Area for the 2013-2014 measurement season. Expenses include parts and engineering time for the design and fabrication of high-powered LED lighting, instrument installation operation at Alta Ski Area, and development of a smartphone app that provides a live feed of snowflakes. The app will be provided to all backers.
Personnel costs cover time to develop improved lighting and a smartphone app. Contract support to Alta Ski Area covers onsite deployment and maintenance of the MASC at Alta.

Meet the Researcher


Tim Garrett has authored 60 peer-reviewed articles about his research on aerosols, clouds, precipitation and the thermodynamics of complex systems. His teaching covers undergraduate and graduate courses in thermodynamics, cloud physics and radiative transfer. He works with mechanical engineer Cale Fallgatter who holds an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Utah and has a patent pending on Systems and methods for imaging of falling objects. Programmer Konstantin Shkurko holds a B.S. in Physics and Mathematics from Cornell University and an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Utah. He is currently a Ph.D. student at U Utah with a specialty in physically based rendering of objects. Site Engineer Howie Howlett installs and monitors meteorological instrumentation at Alta in addition to being the Assistant Director of Alta's Avalanche department.

University of Utah news release
Gizmag: High speed photo system captures close-ups of snowflakes in mid-air
NBC news: New photography rig captures snowflakes mid-flight
Powder Magazine: Camera at Alta captures the world’s first images of snowflakes in flight
Atmospheric Measurement Techniques: Fall speed measurement and high-resolution multi-angle photography of hydrometeors in free fall

Banner Image Photo Credit:

Project Backers

Omar ArainGadennekonstantinshkurkosundodgerEGarrettbuckpeterTim GarrettOscar JasklowskiRainCTshixuanzhang39bdfabercvroseSkander MzaliCindy Wuperspectivecalegatterscooper00adambazinetDenny LuanCGarretthesparrowMarkHoroszowski