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Thread: Snow for the Euros.
02-15-2007, 01:07 AM #2426
Anyone have any more info on the deaths of the Swedish guys?
Unfortunately it seems that its always the Swedish skibums who are caught in slides in the Arlberg.
02-15-2007, 01:24 AM #2427
02-15-2007, 02:19 AM #2428
Get some Euro Mags today for all us working stiffs! I look forward to the stoke later today!#1 goal this year......stay alive +
02-15-2007, 02:56 AM #2429
dammit - looks like nendaz will be pretty warm on on the weekend 0-13C.
for those of you out there today make the most of it.
02-15-2007, 06:52 AM #2430sucks on the internet
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02-15-2007, 08:15 AM #2431Registered User
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- Oct 2004
Just back form a quick flight over the alps..
first time in a small prop plane on a civilian flight. Don't know the plane model, just a small 2 seater. Flew from lasuanne, to Montreaux, Leysin, Les Diablerets, Gstad, le Dome, Sion, and back round, les diaberlets, looped though the clouds abpove Aigle and then did some acrobatics above lac leman.
A strong NNW wind blowing over the alps made some quite spectcular turbulence. A 50kts ground speed, 140knot air speed, plane at 45* to angle of movement being blown onto the upslope, altimeter doing circles... quite fun but scary at the same time. These small planes really get blown about the place!
I took control on the return across lac leman and lined us up for landing. quite intuitive but a lot of dials to look out for. I ended up concentrating too much on getting the right approach vector and we didn't loose enough height...
Leysin looked nice, G3000 looked superb, wind blown but very loaded and untouched. Lift lines were prepared and pisted. Only saw a single avalanche slide so conditions can't be too unsafe..
02-15-2007, 08:21 AM #2432
02-15-2007, 08:23 AM #2433
Hey, I was at Diablerets and Villars today and I think I saw your plane! doing the acrobatics and what not. What color was it? I think i saw it had some white on it with some other colors.
Looks like alot of fun...
And Villars was alot of fun today, pistes were in good shape, and off piste looks very decently covered. Leysin on the other hand is struggling and losing the snow in town on the lower slopes. Dont know how well it is skiing because I havent been up there since yesterday, but there was substantial snow loss from when we drove out this morning to when we pulled in about an hour ago.
please let it snow again dammit
02-15-2007, 10:21 AM #2434
so we got far less than some of the places in the western alps but damn, i really do love sunshine and powder. one of those days when i find bruises in the evening and can't remember getting any of them.
Last edited by klar; 02-15-2007 at 10:35 AM. Reason: can't spell
02-15-2007, 10:53 AM #2435Registered User
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- Jan 2005
i triggered my first avalanche yesterday in engelberg. first run of the day. we assumed avy danger being marked as 3 a bit high for the zone we triggered the slide. reason: the amount of new snow varied between 10-20cm at that altitude and thus being well underneath what we call in german "kritische neuschneemenge" wich is the amount of new snow that defines danger level 3 and which varies between 25 and 50 cm depending on the quality of the underlying snowpack.
so we went for the laub. a run of 35° around 800 meters of vert and very frequently skied.
as it turned out rather quickly those 10-20 cm lay on a really extremely sketchy layer of sun crust sketchier than we both had expected. the snow pack of fresh was so thin, that you hit the hardpack underneath from time to time and had to navigate your way through shallow ridges of gravel and grass. we had checked before if there were people underneath and stayed away from deeper deposit zones in order to be able to keep close to save zones although we knew that this strategy was more likely to sett of slides due to the shallow snowpack, but only small ones that wouldn't be very hazardous to us. so we navigated our way from save zone to save zone and close to the prementioned ridges. my friend had skied to his next save zone ahaed of me and i followed in his track skiing rather fast and wide turns but trying to be smooth on the slab. I've been aware of the sketchyness of the situation all the time and very attentive to what was going on around me. I guess that is why I really was not surprised or shocked at the point when the slide set off. i was well in the middle and had about 10 meters to leave the slide and about 20 to my absolute save zone on the left. I estimated later it had ripped about 30 meters above me. this initial slide of maybe 30 meters in width and 50 meters high soon triggered further slabs underneath and an instant later an avalanche of about 80 to 100 meters in width had set off.
I was extremely focussed and thinking very clearly up to this point. but as i saw the whole slope going off and running over a slight roll over about 150 meters below us and vanishing in white smoke i felt hard to controll fear arising. this all (and a lot of other details that i left out) had happened within in a couple of seconds as the slide on the slippery base ran extremely fast.
we had checked if there were people underneath before. but from the point we were standing now there was a part of the path we could not overlook. I had done a mistake before, not expecting a slide maybe shallow, maybe not dangerous to us, would eventually set off that big. checking for people a couple of hundred meters underneath and all the way to the base of the slope was rather due to following a standard safety protocoll, to make sure for the worst case scenario but we both had not really expected it to happen. could we now be absolutely sure we had not done another mistake and overlooked somebody? for a couple of seconds it was very hard to think straight and figure out what was best to do and what had to be done in this situation. it was like there were to many things, to many possible approaches and to many options on my mind at the same time and it was too hard to weigh them all one against the other and choose the best one in the fastest possible way.
what helped me was to consciously not try to figure it out all at once and then follow a preset protocoll but doing it step by step. all the sudden the first step was obvious and very easy. get in the bed of the avalanche and ski down to that rollover as fast as possible. we had noticed a group of skiers far over to our right in some sort of counterslope long before we set the slide who now must have overseen the whole terrain of our slide easily. as we were skidding down i decided that we would have to split up at the rollover if they were partly underneath the different deposit zones so that one could ski over to them to ask what they had seen and the other could stay above to launch a search as quickly as possible in the worst case.
at the roll over it took me a couple of seconds to determine if all questionable runways and deposit zones of the avalanche that we could not be 100% certain about not having burried a potential victim were well underneath that group, taking at the same time into account that it would also be very difficult to conduct the person who'd stay above to the right spot from the distance. again a moment where i found the complexity of the situation close to overwhelming feeling the pressure that the right decision has to be taken instantly and knowing that a false decision could be desastrous. I was relieved to find it'd be save to head to that group together.
And we were both more than relieved to find out they had seen the slide and approved our observation from the very beginning that nobody has been in the slope and nobody was caught. They were actually so easy about it that the whole situation appeared almost unreal at the first instant and I'm pretty sure my partner felt the same.
well that was my perspective and an excerpt of what I was thinking during the whole instant. I don't know what exactly was going on in my partners mind as we didn't talk a lot about it but rather about how we actually got into the situation. and during the whole incident itself only very few sentences were spoken. there was no discussion it was just decisions.
we took a break of about an hour and then had an excellent day in the higher slopes at steinberg and jochstock, which turned out to have recieved a lot more snow but which was bonded way way better to the old snowpack.
we were actually following some sort of standard protocoll too when we decided to head for the laub: to get used to the snowpack with fewer new snow which was less windeffected as compared to what we supposed would be the situation up high. turned out, the critical base layer was only up to around 2400 and was way better up high. the avalanche bulletin didn't point that out and we had expected that it was really bad up high too.
lessons learned: protocolls are good most of the time. but only if you question them twice if they really are appropriate even in this specific situation. and go easy and take the time to get to know the snowpack even if you have the bulletine on your mind litterally. I guess there are a lot more lessons...
...but i got to hurry. sorry for that hasty write up.
Last edited by greg; 02-15-2007 at 11:16 AM.
02-15-2007, 10:59 AM #2436
impressive write up, greg. glad you are both ok and seem to have had a good day despite this.
02-15-2007, 11:02 AM #2437
wow - scary stuff! glad you're ok. the laub must be a scary place to be if you discover you're in sketchy conditions!
i was in Engelberg before this last storm and can see why the higher stuff is relatively safe. the Laub was not getting skied much if at all so i doubt any of the 15cms or so of snow that fell a couple of weeks ago had been compacted much by skiers. OTOH the Steinberg and stuff off the Jochstock was pretty much skied out. There were one or two small slides of the soft snow on the hardpack, but mostly it had been very well compacted. so that probably made a relatively stable base and one which the new snow could stick to quite wellfur bearing, drunk, prancing eurosnob
02-15-2007, 11:24 AM #2438
Greg, sorry to hear about the avalanche but glad to hear nobody was hurt.
Tons of avalanche debris at Brevent and Flegere (Chamonix) today. High wind closed the Brevent cablecar and all of Les Grands Montets (so if you're looking for untracked snow...). Snow Cornu and L'Index was quite heavy but especially towards the top (~2400m) was quite fun.
G3000 seems the place for tomorrow so anybody in the area come on up!
02-15-2007, 12:25 PM #2439
Risk 4 in the French Alps today above 2400 (that's like a Swiss risk 3 :-). So we opted for some south facing low angled ski touring. Very very hot, it was like being in a shower in the track through the forest with the amount of snow melting off the trees. We followed a guy up to a local summit that has been completely unskiable all winter until now, so conditions are finally becoming acceptable. Then we figured we hadn't really earned our turns by following someone else tracks and did another untracked pass.
Cime de la Jasse - google video
Anny, whom I was skiing with, loves these kind of heavy powder conditions. I would too if I wasn't on skis that are skinnier than a supermodel on a diet. It is days like today you want some B3 squads, Chamans or Mutagh Atas. You just don't want the French rocks.
omorrow we are heading north - well to a north facing bowl as it will so hot the local hens will be layin' hard boiled eggs. Avy conditions are quit hard to read. Zero iso over 3000m with a lot of wind transport from n to south through west faces (so maybe no snow left on the north facing slopes ) then a lot of unstable sugar snow on shaded slopes that is now under some fairly large slabs.
02-15-2007, 12:31 PM #2440
I was the skier being with greg.
I have to say that my experiences with that avalanche are totally reflected by what greg describes. The facts are desribed very precisely by greg, so I will stick to what my feelings and experiences were.
It was a scary thing just because the sheer size of it. Literally half the laub was freed from snow by that single slide. It was simply incredible.
Retrospectively, I was rather surprised that this icy layer wasn't mentioned explicit in the bulletin.
Another thing that really surprised me, was how much time for thoughts and decisions there can be within one second and how calm we both stayed, really distilling conversation to the necessary minimum. After a very short moment where I had to surpress the instant wish to "Go there and do something" without any idea what "something" might be, I was extremely clear and focused.
Like greg said:
The real shock came in the end when we had asked this swedish group and gone down the hole debris cone and had a first short rest with a view of the whole scene. My legs were shaking both from nervousness and exhaustion, because we skied down the sledge and debris cone nearly the whole laub with this heavy, wet snow in no time and only realised afterwards.
My thoughts then were: "how could it be that such a monster doesn't do any harm?"
We were really extremely lucky.
For me the rest of the day -which for sure was great, especially considering this season- wasn't as easy as it sounds in gregs report. It took me quite some while to become confident in my skills, knowledge, the mountain and snow in general again. I think the first one or two rides i was just passenger or nominal member of our little party.
But in contradiction to my first feeling of finishing the day after this, it was geally good to go on skiing.
Thanks greg, it was a pleasure crossing your lines.
02-15-2007, 12:41 PM #2441
Thanks for sharing guys. I'm almost thinking this should be cut and paste into either its own thread or at least its own thread in the slide talk forum or whatever its called. That way a few more people will read it and learn from it.He who has the most fun wins!
02-15-2007, 12:51 PM #2442
Ya thanks for for sharing this. Always useful to read accounts of avy situations
02-15-2007, 12:56 PM #2443
Greg, some questions:- I take it you were still on the slab when it ripped out, how was it skiing on a slab that was moving? Did it start to break up around you before you got off it and onto the section that hadnt slid?
02-15-2007, 01:25 PM #2444
i just read that again. indeed, thanks for sharing, knut and greg.
was it just the new snow that slid? the suncrust/icy layer held?
02-15-2007, 02:31 PM #2445
Yes, it was only the layer of fresh snow originating from the snowfalls of the last few days.
And yes, as far as i could see it immediately broke up and greg skied on those blocks out. Probably this was possible because of the humble to moderate thickness of this snow layer in the triggering area. It was still going rather smooth in contrast to the movement it developed just a few dozen meters further down where the blocks started to roll over and it was all much more of an chaotic movement.
But you should wait for greg to tell you how he experienced it. Because on the exact triggering I was checking the next slope on our left side (which curiosly greg hat the time to notice while noticing the avalanche, seeking and skiing his way out and thinking of how to yell to make me notice the situation but not panicking) and looked only upon greg's call into his direction.
Once again, interestingly i noticed in an instant that he is well with skiing his way out and I would have time to check the situation around me, for people below me and the second crack on our left before i would have to look back to greg to notice his way down and remember possible points of disappearance etc.
It's really incredible how much time the universe is able to offer when you're really in the need for it.
An' by the way
Last edited by Knut; 02-16-2007 at 06:37 AM.
02-15-2007, 03:27 PM #2446Ski, Bike, Climb.
Resistence is futile.
02-15-2007, 03:51 PM #2447ludovicorist
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- Jan 2006
- bavaria, it's near germany
thanks for the infos, Im very glad nobody got hurt ...
I'm really very undecided right now if it was a good or a bad thing I couldnt make it with you guys, Im glad I wasnt with you but on the other hand its hard to say so because Ive already been sitting in my car when the cellphone rang and I clearly should have been with you, maybe my opinion would have been different as I dont know engelberg at all.
hopefully well get to ski together next time and at that time in more safe conditions.This is how you talk when you learn English from pornos.
02-15-2007, 04:20 PM #2448custom user title?
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- Oct 2005
glad to hear that you are both ok.
i dont know much slopes where in which the thought of such a slide would scare me more than the laub.
but there are a lot of big slides going on these days in the alps...
thanks for sharing.
02-16-2007, 03:02 AM #2449
5c at 2000M today...hope all the Euro mags are getting some this AM. I think I am buying a pair of park skis....because the forecast looks dry again..... on the brightside at least this country has glaciers with parks.#1 goal this year......stay alive +
02-16-2007, 03:38 AM #2450
glad you made it out safely.
sounds pretty huge.
where exactly did you ski ? assuming that you skipped the steeper chutes and skied the mellow terrain pretty far to the skiers right, the rollover ended in the bushes on the right side? or do i imagine the wrong part of the laub?
low snow level winters suck. snowwise AND avalanchewise.
but to quote "someone" loosely concerning those "freeskiers.net" meetings: "If this avalanche triggering becomes a regular thing, i won't be attending those anymore because you guys seem to take far too many risks"
edit: before anyone doesn't understand what i mean by that comment above and starts getting all grumpy: sometimes it's not a big mistake when something happens, it just happens. Even if you dno't take many risks and/or make poor decisions.
I'd still ski with you guys.
Last edited by subtle plague; 02-16-2007 at 03:47 AM.It's a war of the mind and we're armed to the teeth.