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Cedaredge author is an authority on avalanches

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Photo by Hank Lohmeyer From left: author Knox Williams, his wife Suz Curry, and book purchaser Gerry Mendralla.

Author Knox Williams, two-year resident of Cedaredge, has published the fourth in a series of books about avalanches.

"The Snowy Torrents: Avalanche Accidents in the U.S. 1996-2004" is co-authored with former colleague, Spence Logan.

Knox Williams knows his subject. His career of 36 years "in the snow business" included serving as director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) from 1983 to 2006. According to online accounts, Williams is credited with leading decades-long efforts helping to create the current network for avalanche forecasting; a network that includes Colorado and the intermountain United States West region.

In his work at the CAIC, Williams oversaw the agency's dual mission. Half of the CAIC's work was in forecasting avalanche conditions. The other half was in creating public awareness of avalanche dangers and educating the public.

His book continues that work. Williams said, "By reading of the experiences of others, people can learn, and mishaps won't be repeated so often."

He believes that the multi-state effort to create an avalanche information network and public awareness is paying off. As an example Williams cites the fact that while winter sports activity has increased by 20 times in the past 20 years, the number of fatalities from avalanche has leveled.

"We hope it is because people are getting educated," Williams said.

He gives the winter sports community high marks for adopting the message of avalanche safety.

"Snowmobilers really pay attention to conditions. The community is tuned in to the message," he said.

Williams and Suz Curry, his wife of 37 years, moved to Cedaredge two years ago from Buena Vista when she suggested one day, "Let's get out of this winter thing."

They had lived in Fort Collins for 40 years prior, and so a move back to the Front Range was not among their preferred living options. They have friends who live in town and decided to settle here where the elevation is about 2,000 feet lower than Buena Vista, providing a definitely milder climate.

Knox and Suz have two grown children and one granddaughter.

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