The Friends of the Payette Avalanche Center announces our 2020 “Future Forecasters Scholarship”

The Friends of Payette Avalanche Center is looking for local High school students who ski, board or snowmobile that are interested in making a career in the snow sciences.  We want to jump start your studies by paying the tuition for a Level 1 Avalanche class. 

What - Tuition for local high school seniors to take a Level 1 Avalanche class with Payette Powder Guides or CM Rentals.

Who - High school seniors from McCall-Donnelly, New Meadows, or Cascade comfortable with over the snow travel either by motorized or non-motorized travel.  The Friends prefers a mix of motorized and non-motorized students since the two groups are more likely to submit observations from different places.

When - Deadline to Apply December 1st 2020.  Scholarships will be announced mid-December and

the classes are in the middle of January 2021.

The catch - The student will then submit avalanche observations upon completion of the course.  This can provide a platform for the student to practice their skills and continue on their path towards a professional career.  Professional observers and forecasters will be available to assist and mentor.  It will also provide valuable information to the PAC forecasters and the community.

How to Apply - send an email to telling us why you should be considered for the scholarship. Give us a little background on yourself, what interests you in the snow sciences and how you plan to use your skills in the future.  Extra consideration will be given to students who submit an avalanche observation before Dec 1st.  This does not have to be from an actual observation, but simply showing us that you have the ability to submit an observation.  Observations are submitted via the PAC website here:

Any additional questions please email to

Friends of PAC Fall Newsletter

The weather is changing and with snow blanketing the high peaks, it is time for a fall newsletter.

The 2019-2020 winter ended with the Covid-19 virus shutting down operations at the ski resorts and closing a few of the major parking lots accessing the national forest.  Sales of motorized and non-motorized gear for traveling in avalanche terrain have exploded.  We recognize the need for more safe winter travel education and will address this in several ways.  

We plan to install avalanche beacon check stations at Brundage and Tamarack ski resorts at access into avalanche terrain.  We also plan to install a beacon check station at the motorized Francis Wallace Lot north of McCall.  Also, plans are in place to update or move the current one at the motorized Gordon Titus lot. These beacon check stations let users know if their avalanche beacons are turned on, a first step towards safe travel in avalanche terrain. 

We also are partnering with Brundage to offer more avalanche awareness classes and with the increasingly popular all women’s class at Tamarack.  Watch for details and dates.

    We hope to award 2-3 “future forecasters” scholarships this year.  Last year we had 2 fantastic recipients as well as positive feedback from the community.  The Halloween announcement for applications should close by December 1st.  High School seniors in Adams county as well as Valley county are encouraged to apply.  These scholarships are for local students showing an interest in snow sciences.

    Last year’s new beacon training park was installed at the Harshman skatepark in the city of McCall.  Talks are underway to relocate it at the Little Ski Hill, in hopes it will receive more use from youth within the community as well as the motorized community.  

    Fundraising during the pandemic will be different this year.  We are looking at an online auction to replace our popular but problematic party.  This will provide an opportunity for local businesses to donate and advertise to our community.  We are exploring several auction websites and will have details announced shortly.

2020 was a record fundraising year! Our plan is for some of those funds tocontribute to more Payette Avalanche Center advisories this season, especially during high use times like winter carnival or during storm cycles.  

    Let’s get more observations submitted!  A big thank you to all who submitted observations in the past few years.  We hope to implement a reward system for quality observations that help the forecasters paint a better picture of the snowpack.

Your donations make all of this happen. We simply want to thank you for your continued support.  Please contact us with any questions or ideas of how we can provide avalanche education to keep our community safe during this La Niña 2020-2021 season.


Message from the Friends of Payette Avalanche Center

Dear Friends and Community Members,


We at the FPAC want to extend our heartfelt wishes for health and well being to all during these trying times. It is an unprecedented situation and one that highlights the importance of community. We want to share a few thoughts with you concerning this wonderful area we call home.


On March 25th, Governor Brad Little issued a statewide stay-home order. “From the get-go, our focus has been to slow the spread of Coronavirus to protect our most vulnerable citizens and preserve capacity in our healthcare system,” said Gov. Little. And on March 20th the City of McCall issued a Public Travel advisory to inform the public that McCall and its rural infrastructure simply cannot handle an increase in population currently.


We understand the need to be out in open spaces, to continue to recreate and enjoy the splendors that only mother nature can offer. With this we ask you consider the effects you may unknowingly have on others. Now is not the time for traveling to small mountain communities with limited infrastructure. If you are still traveling in the backcountry, we encourage you to step back on your pursuit of riskier lines and more remote locations. Ask yourself, “If something happens, will this place more burden on our already strained health care system and local resources?”



One of the awesome things about living in the West Central Mountains is the close proximity to many forms of outdoor recreation. We encourage you to get outside and enjoy the place we live but please do so with care and consideration for all who call this place home. Thank you.

-Friends of the Payette Avalanche Center


*Current Closures 3/28/2020. From Valley County Facebook Page-

- Valley County has suspended all snowmobile grooming operations.-Payette National Forest Snowmobile Parking lots are closed (including West Face, Gordon Titus, Wallace Lane) as well as IDL Parking Lots (Francis E Wallace, Brush Creek, Green Gate)-Brundage Mountain Resort and Tamarack (including all uphill traffic and parking lots), and the Little Ski Hill are closed.- Boise National Forest has closed access through May 15, 2020. This includes roads, campgrounds, hot springs and other access in the BNF.- Manchester Ice and Event Center: Closed until further notice-Cascade Aquatic & Recreation Center: Closed through March 31st.-Lake Cascade State Park Visitor’s Center & Ponderosa State Park Visitor's Center and Cabins: Closed until April 30th.- Idaho Power Boat Ramps, Parks & Day Use Areas: Closed until further notice.-McCall Fish Hatchery: Closed until further notice.

Beacon Training Park is up and running

The Friends are extrememly excited to announce the Beacon Training Park is up and running!  It's location is at Harshman skate park on 128 Idaho st. in McCall.  Look for the banner hanging, then head towards the entrance of the skate park and look for the command center in a BCA box.  Look for the latches on the underside of the command box.  Operating instructions are inside the box.  Please do not dig up the transmitters but just locate with a probe strike.  The park is open all the time to everyone.  A coarse seach might be needed to locate a signal as some of the transmitters are located a healthy distance from the command center.  Any problems or feedback, please email

Thank you!

Recipients of 1st Annual “Future Forecasters Scholarship”

We would like to congratulate both Nicholas Hardy and Brynne Kundrick for being the recipients of our 1st Annual Future Forecasters Scholarship.  We look forward to working with both of you and helping you with your pursuit into the professional realm of snow sciences!

Nicholas is a Senior at McCall-Donnelly and will be taking the AIARE Level 2 Avalanche Course-Evaluating Snow Stability & Avalanche Hazard with Payette Powder Guides in February.

Brynne is a senior at McCall-Donnelly and will be taking the AIARE Level 1 Avalanche Course-Decision Making in Avalanche Terrain at Brundage in February.  

Both students have shown a strong interest in pursuing snow sciences as well as demonstrated the initiative we were looking for in our applicants. 

We are extremely excited to provide opportunities for the youth in our community.  Juniors in high school this season, start to prepare your resume and skill set to be able to apply next fall for this opportunity.  For more information and any questions, email

Thank you!