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12-28-2011, 02:31 PM #1
Lots of Inbounds Slides Today, Everything Stayed Open
As with most places this year, we haven't had much snow so far. Over the 2 days we got ~8-12" of super heavy wet snow that fell on top of old hoar. The local hill (Whitefish Mountain Resort) has been pushing hard to get terrain open since they low snow is reportedly resulting in them hemorrhaging money this holiday season. Today they opened a whole bunch of stuff that had not yet been open this year (because there just wasn't enough snow).
My first lap into some inbounds east facing trees, I popped off a small rock into a clearing and triggered a 1' deep, 60 foot wide slide that ran to the end of the clearing - probably about 75 feet. I was carried with it with no major consequence; it was a fairly slow moving slide, it stopped when it got to the trees at the end of the clearing, and I don't think there was enough moving snow to possibly bury me (I had debris up to my knees).
Here's a crappy cell phone picture of it:
I told patrol about the slide, and they apparently went to check it out. Sometime no long thereafter, some other guy went for a significantly longer ride in an adjacent, more open area. He triggered a slide on the same layer, but the crown was ~150' wide, and it ran for probably 300 vert. He apparently managed to grab a tree and was unhurt.
I went and looked at the bigger slide after the fact and I'm pretty surprised the area remained open; there was plenty of stuff to get trauma-ed on in that area, and slabs were still breaking off pretty easily on the test slopes I bounced on. All of the terrain in question stayed open, which I thought was a somewhat questionable call. I've seen plenty of snow sluffing and moving around inbounds, and if it had just been the little slab I kicked off I wouldn't have thought too much of it, but the big slab kind of sketched me out. I'm sure patrol had pressure on them from management to get terrain open, but given that they knew stuff was sliding and they still didn't close those areas seems like a disaster waiting to happen. Am I just over-reacting to perceived danger that wasn't that big a deal?
12-28-2011, 05:27 PM #2
150' wide & 300' vert is enough to fuck someone up.
I wasn't there but no, you are not over-reacting.And if I should die of Small Pox, put my remains in my Snuffbox
12-28-2011, 05:58 PM #3
* 30cm is around the threshold depth for avalanches big enough to bury, injure, or kill a skier. ( The Avalanche Handbook )
* Debris up to your knees = more than enough snow for a complete burial.
* Slide you triggered: est. 4500 cubic feet of snow.
* The avalanche you describe as 1' deep x 150' wide x 300' vertical fall: est. 20,000 cubic feet of snow.
* I'm not sure about your background or experience, but: 8-12" of wet and heavy over old surface hoar = high instability.
Fun fact of the day:
* Small avalanches ( running 300' slope distance ) are responsible for ~50% of fatalities. ( http://www.nwac.us/media/uploads/pdf...e_Brochure.pdf )
12-28-2011, 06:10 PM #4
Your picture is broken.
What is this Whitefish Mountain Resort you speak of?
12-28-2011, 06:18 PM #5
edit to add - I don't think I could have been buried just based on looking around at the debris pile I ended up sitting in. Had there been a terrain trap or something that forced the slide into a smaller area, there was definitely enough volume for someone to end end buried. In the larger slide I mentioned, there's no question that someone could have been buried.
12-28-2011, 06:24 PM #6
If you like, you can call it the ski hill formerly known as Big Mountain.
12-29-2011, 07:12 PM #7Registered User
- Join Date
- Dec 2011
Small slide inbounds at KH, same day as well.
12-29-2011, 09:38 PM #8
12-30-2011, 05:36 AM #9charge on jong
- Join Date
- Sep 2010
- Golden, BC
KH was fun trying to beat your own slough down the hill! Yesterday the pow was quite different from Wednesdays pow. The whole wall behind the water reservoir came down while I was on it on Wed.
12-30-2011, 11:24 AM #10Registered User
- Join Date
- Nov 2003
12-30-2011, 12:40 PM #11
01-01-2012, 06:44 AM #12
Another in-bounds slide at KH today...
Stay safe out there, and ski with a buddy,.