Weather can make or break a trip into the mountains. Knowing how to properly analyze the weather, and make your own forecast, will give you an advantage when planning any trip. A more intimate understanding of the weather can maximize your chances for success and increase your margin of safety in the mountains.

This course will provide the student with these 3 essential skills:

1) Basic understanding of meteorology.

2) Ability to interpret weather maps and forecast products.

3) Techniques for weather forecasting while out in the mountains.

This course begins with some basic meteorology and an understanding of how the atmosphere works, and how the weather interacts with mountainous terrain.

Students will learn how to read and interpret all the weather maps & forecast products necessary to make their own forecast, prior to launching into the field.

Students will also learn how to assess and track changes in the weather, once out in the field. Guidelines for thunderstorm forecasting and lightning safety will be covered, along with forecasting tips for each student’s primary geographic location.


Sierra Mountain Center


This course is sponsored by Sierra Mountain Center and provided by Jim Woodmencey of Mountain Weather based in Jackson, Wyoming.Jim Woodmencey has a B.S. degree in Meteorology and is the owner and chief meteorologist at in Jackson, WY. Jim has also worked as a mountain guide in the Cascades & Alaska, for 14 summers as a climbing ranger in the Tetons, as an avalanche-weather forecaster for the State of Alaska, as well as, a forecaster and lead guide for High Mountain Heli-Skiing in Jackson. Jim has been forecasting weather for the Teton Mountains since 1991 and has also forecasted for expeditions, and S.A.R. missions, throughout the Western U.S., Alaska, Karakoram & Himalaya. Jim is the author of two books, Reading Weather and Weather in the Southwest.

Class format

Course days run from 8:00am to 5:00pm. We use WMRS classroom space and internet connection for forecasting tools.


Pets are not allowed on site so please leave Fifi or Sparky at home.

A copy of the latest edition of Reading Weather and a course workbook are included with this course. Please bring your own laptop or tablet, with wireless Internet capability, for “live” forecast exercises in the classroom.