Snowmass terrain trap - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 01-24-2012   #1
 
Edwards, Colorado
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Snowmass terrain trap

With all due respect to Keith Ames and condolences to those close to him, this CAIC report/video is worth watching. There is something to be learned here.

CAIC: Colorado Avalanche Information Center

Be careful out there.

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Old 01-24-2012   #2
 
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West of Boulder, Colorado
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Makes me want to carry Avy gear at ski areas, especially if we are pushing the extreme terrain limits of the area and especially if you are in the side country. I have thought about this before and it especially makes sense with our current snow pack.
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Old 01-24-2012   #3
 
Silverthorne, Colorado
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Man dies in avalanche at Mary Jane. Skier was found in a tree area in small snow slide in a gully. The Sunnyside Lift at Mary Jane was closed this morning in the wake of the death. Resort officials said the Ski Patrol conducted a terrain assessment on the mountain this morning and reopened everything but Sunnyside Lift.


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Old 01-24-2012   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SBlue View Post
With all due respect to Keith Ames and condolences to those close to him, this CAIC report/video is worth watching. There is something to be learned here.
SBlue - thanks for posting that. This graphically illustrates a point that I think a lot of folks don't realize or take seriously - just how little it takes to kill you. Once on Loveland pass in the early season I got caught, carried and partially buried by a slide just a little bigger than the one shown in the video. If my ski had snagged on a shrub when I was being swept downslope, I'd likely have been covered. Since I'd been separated from my partner, I'd have likely suffocated before the guys I was with that day could find me.

It still amazes me that after postholing through the undisturbed snow, I was able to walk around on top of the avy deposition snow after I dug myself out- it was that firmly packed.

CAIC stated the skier's partners worked their way back up and dug him out, so he must've been recovered pretty quickly, but he still died. A beacon may not have helped in this case, and one certainly won't help in a bigger slide if you get racked up in the trees or get munched by slab blocks the size of refrigerators and washing machines.

If its steep enough to be fun, if the snow's deep enough to ski, and the pitch is long enough to make turns, its steep enough, deep enough and big enough to kill you.

Be safe out there,

-AH
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Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 01-24-2012   #5
 
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Thanks for sharing your story Andy. I am particularly shook up by the Vail incident as I could of easily have been that young man when I was his age. I have ducked under many ropes in my years and realize now how ignorant and lucky i have been. It breaks my heart thinking about the loss his friends and family must be feeling.
I love to ski Powder and understand deeply the obsession of chasing it. However, I am starting to see it a different light this season. This season kind of sucks, there has not been that much snow and many of our "stashes" are dangerous. Now more than ever we are Jonesen for that feeling of weightlessness and serenity that comes from skiing deep untracked snow. The general trend in avy danger right now is the highest I can remember in my area, there have been numerous slides both naturally and triggered by people.
We have to think and know that there will be more ski seasons. Seasons with more snow and better snow for skiing the backcountry. This year is different, very different from last year. Even if you are intimately familiar with a certain area it is different this year. Even if you carry all the right gear and practice all the proper techniques know that it is different this year. And know that there will be many more EPIC powder days but maybe not as many this year. Skiing is a sport that should be enjoyed for a lifetime not just a run.
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Old 01-24-2012   #6
 
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Originally Posted by Porkchop View Post
This year is different, very different from last year. Even if you are intimately familiar with a certain area it is different this year. Even if you carry all the right gear and practice all the proper techniques know that it is different this year. And know that there will be many more EPIC powder days but maybe not as many this year. Skiing is a sport that should be enjoyed for a lifetime not just a run.
I spent a winter in Val d'Isere France once upon a time. There was very little snow until Christmas night, when it started dumping and kept up until April. I remember for the first few weeks after we started getting snow, we'd get off the mountain and be hanging out in the bar or having tea, when someone would come in and say "I heard two Brits were killed in Les Arcs today." The next day it was an Australian kid killed in Tigne, the next day a couple of Swedes killed over in Chamonix, then a guy was killed up a couple of chair rides from our condo right off-piste between two groomed runs. The old, rotten snowpack that had been sitting out under cloudless skies for a month was getting loaded and folks were going wild off piste and some were paying the ultimate price for it. For two or three weeks this went on, with the total hitting near 30 avalanche deaths in the French Alps alone by mid- or late January when everything that was going to slide had slid and a new snowpack been established.

There's nothing brave, bold, or rad about taking an optional run getting killed in an avalanche - just one big bummer for your friends and family. You're just playing with high risk probability and eventually it'll probably go the wrong way if you do it often enough. Or do it once.

I sure as hell wouldn't get on anything steep in the backcountry right now.

-AH
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Old 01-24-2012   #7
 
Louisville, Colorado
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Shared a lift with the CDOT Berthoud Pass avy control guy. He said they got things to slide on Sunday with the howitzer that had never slid before, even though they always shoot the area.
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Old 01-24-2012   #8
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Fruita, Colorado
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Very sad! Been in bc myself lately mostly N and NE facing near 10,000ft, and yes it's the stretchy-est snow pack I've seen in years, lots of movement!!! Be careful out there friends.........
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Old 01-24-2012   #9
Fry
 
The OC, Colorado
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I have been skiing the Colorado backcountry for 20 years and this is the freakiest, scariest snowpack I have ever seen.
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Old 01-25-2012   #10
 
dillon, Colorado
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Lots of slides in E.Vail, Beaver, and snow moving all around summit...certainly reminiscent of our snowpack 2 years ago. Hopefully everyone else stays safe and has fun out there!
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