Edward LaChapelle avalanche control video collection, 1950-1970

Overview of the Collection

LaChapelle, Edward R.
Edward LaChapelle avalanche control video collection
1950-1970 (inclusive)
19 16mm films, 10 VHS videocassettes, 2 Betacam videocassettes
Collection Number
The Edward LaChapelle avalanche control video collection (1950-1970) consists of films about avalanche danger, control and research at Utah ski areas and around the world. The collection also includes some of LaChapelle's home movies and other ski related footage. Edward LaChapelle was an American glaciologist, mountaineer, skier, author, and professor and a pioneer in Avalanche research, safety and forecasting.
University of Utah Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library
University of Utah
295 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, UT

Telephone: 8015818863
Access Restrictions

Materials must be used on-site; no use of original material, access copies will be made available for viewing. Five business days advanced notice required. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law, condition of the material, or by donor.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Edward Randle "Ed" LaChapelle (1926-2007) was born in May 31 Tacoma, Washington. After studying physics and math at the University of Puget Sound and spending time at the Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research he joined the United States Forest Service as a snow ranger in Alta, Utah in 1952.

In addition to his two decades of work at Alta's avalanche center, LaChapelle was professor of atmospheric sciences and geophysics at the University of Washington from 1967 to 1982 and professor emeritus until his death. He also researched the subject at the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) of the University of Colorado at Boulder from 1973-1977 and was involved in the 1968 development of the avalanche transceiver beacon. Edward LaChapelle died of a heart attack at Colorado's Monarch Ski Area on February 1, 2007.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Edward LaChapelle avalanche control video collection (1950-1970) consists of films about avalanche danger, control and research. Several films document early avalanche control done at Alta, Utah. The collection also includes some of LaChapelle's home movies and other ski related footage.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


The materials are arranged by format type.

Related Materials

See also Edward LaChapelle's 35mm slides, located with the photograph collections, and his ex-wife Dolores LaChapelle's photograph collection (P0981).

Processing Note

Processed by Dean Pickett in 2000.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1 Unidentified 16mm film

16mm film
2 Wasatch National Forest

16mm film
3 Wasatch National Forest

16mm film
4 Metamorphism and compression of wet snow

16mm film
Filmed by Gorow Wakehame and Katutosi Tusima, instructors in low temperature science, Hokkaido University, Suppero, Japan.
5 Footage of avalanche damage at Wallace, Idaho

16mm film
Filmed by Monty Atwater for Disney. Footage of Honeycomb Ridge and cornice blast.
6 Avalanche control out-takes

16mm film
1963 Material not used in film "Avalanche Control." Includes scenes of control work and various avalanche artillery such as the original muzzle-loading avalauncher.
7 Alta

16mm film
Various scenes of terrain skiers, avalanche control and snow tests. Material of historical interest.
8 San Juan Mountain avalanche scenes

16mm film
9 Avalanche Control raw footage

16mm film
Original footage used in Avalanche Control. Scenes of test skiing, fracture line profile, slope measurements, assorted weapons firing: recoilless rifle, 75mm howitzer, avalauncher (original model).
10 Snow plowing and avalanche control scenes at Alta

16mm film
11 Avalanche control uses publicity reel

16mm film
12 Avalanche control outtakes

16mm film
Various scenes of firing artillery, shell bursts and avalanche releases prepared to illustrate avalanche control on a television program.
13 Avalanche dynamics

16mm film
14-15 Andre Roche avalanche footage

16mm film
Scenes of avalanche control with various weapons, avalanche releases, observation techniques and details involved in the taking a fracture line profile. Some of this footage was used in "Avalanche Control."
16 Alta

16mm film
Various scenes of terrain, snowplowing, avalanche control. General historical interest.
circa 1957
17-18 Japan snow technology

16mm film
Directed by Ed LaChapelle.
19 Alta scenes

16mm film
Home movies, footage of people firing guns, cornice kicking and some ski cuts.
20 Avalanche awareness: a question of balance

VHS videocassette
21 Avalanche control

VHS videocassette
A KSL news broadcast about an avalanche which took place in Little Cottonwood Canyon.
22 Avalanche hazards part 2
Black and white
VHS videocassette
Produced by The United States Army. 27 minutes.
23-29 VHS duplicates

VHS videocassette
Dubs of items 2-22.
30-31 Betacam duplicates

Betacam videocassette
Dubs of items 2-16, 19.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Avalanches
  • Avalanches--Control
  • Avalanches--Control--Utah

Corporate Names

  • Alta (Utah)

Form or Genre Terms

  • Moving images