Alaska Winter Weather Forecasting Courses with Jim Woodmencey

This 2-day course will focus on weather forecasting in Alaska. It will benefit anyone with an interest in understanding the weather better, and being able to making their own forecasts. Weather forecasting in the mountains of Alaska during the winter is the primary emphasis. This course begins with an overview of basic meteorology, as a foundation for understanding of how the atmosphere works. Orographic effects and how the mountains interact with weather systems will be explored in-depth. Students will learn how to read and interpret all pertinent weather maps and computer models, with an emphasis on products specific to Alaska. There will be map reading and forecasting exercises each day to give students as much hands-on experience as possible.

Presentations in the classroom will be supplemented by “live” looks at weather maps via the Internet. A mountain weather forecasting workbook and other supplemental materials are included for each student in this course.

Instructor Jim Woodmencey is the owner of and a renowned meterologist. He has a BS Meteorology from Montana State University an has been forecasting the weather in Jackson Hole & the Teton Mountains since 1991. He also forecasts for climbing expeditions worldwide. He travels the world for Mountain Weather Forecasting Courses & is a Certified Avalanche Instructor.


Students should have a basic understanding of the weather and weather terminology, and have some experience navigating the Internet to view various weather maps and products. A technical science background is not required; however, some pre-course preparation will be helpful. 

Most of the maps and charts we will utilize in this course can be found on the website It is recommended that you practice navigating through all of the Alaska pages to be able to quickly locate such things as: Satellite & Radar images, current Surface Maps & Upper Air Maps, Weather Observations for stations nearest to you, and also the Computer Models page, prior to this course.

Each student must have a laptop computer with wireless Internet capability. Using a large tablet is OK, if that is what you are most comfortable using.