Avalanche controllers have a goal of preventing and controlling the risks that avalanches pose. They implement plans that will prevent or control destruction that avalanches can cause which can devastate lives transportation homes and businesses.
Avalanche controllers try to prevent avalanches by observing how snow packs develop and forecasting the risk of an avalanche. Typically they study geographical topography vegetation and snow distribution to assess the danger of a major avalanche. If the risk is high avalanche controllers may artificially trigger smaller but less destructive avalanches using mechanical methods that redistribute snow or using explosives that are deployed manually or with firearms from the ground or in some cases from a helicopter.
More up-to-date techniques create explosions using strategically placed remote controlled installations of explosives. These actions can either prevent a major avalanche or control the effects of an avalanche when it actually occurs. However avalanche technicians must also respond to avalanches after they have taken place. Actions they may take involve clearing transportation routes of avalanche debris repairing structures that have been damaged by avalanches and participating in search and rescue missions.
Another role avalanche controllers play is that they offer training and education seminars about avalanche preparedness to professionals and recreation amateurs.
According to Payscale.com the hourly rate for avalanche controllers ranges from $9.60 to $12.21 not including overtime and an annual salary from approximately $20750 to $30600.