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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Denver
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    1,115

    In-bounds slide at Palisades Tahoe

    This doesn't sound good at all. Hoping no one is buried.

    https://www.powder.com/trending-news...ahoe-avalanche

    POWDER has learned via email correspondence with Palisades Tahoe officials that an in-bounds avalanche occurred at 9:30AM today (January 10, 2024).

    Little information has been made available at this time, but we know that the avalanche occurred above the GS Gully area off Palisades' famed KT-22 lift.

    According to a Palisades official their, "patrol and mountain operations teams are performing a search at this time", more than an hour after the slide occurred.

    Palisades Tahoe was not able to confirm if any skiers or riders were buried in the slide.

    The resort has seen 21 inches of new snow over the last 7 days with 1-2 feet in the forecast over the next 48 hours. Palisades has slowly opened terrain as improving conditions have allowed, and opened KT-22 today for the first time this season.

    All lifts are closed at Palisades and Alpine as of 10:52AM PT.

    This is a developing story. We will continue to update this article as more information is made available.

    11:08 AM UPDATE: Palisades has confirmed the avalanche in an Instagram post:

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Wasatch Back
    Posts
    193
    I just saw this news. Not much information yet, but closing both the Alpine & Palisades sides is pretty significant.

    Hope it's not a tragic situation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    shadow of HS butte
    Posts
    6,482
    There are some recent comments from people on a skimag insta post claiming some things that may or may not be true. I’ll wait for an official statement..


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    truckee
    Posts
    2,089
    Active discussion and updates in the Tahoe thread, take them for what they are in a developing situation.

    At least one mag posting was there (kt22) firsthand as events unfolded.

    Vibes to all

    Thank you OV & AM patrol, and dogs!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    shadow of HS butte
    Posts
    6,482
    Found the scanner... 1 leg injury and 1 deceased.

    https://scanrad.io/c/12/decode

    Listen to 13:06.57 for update from IC.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    here and there
    Posts
    18,632
    Vibes
    watch out for snakes

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    North,NorthEast
    Posts
    3,591
    Crazy picture. Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Posts
    6,769
    So awful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    2,524

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    4

    More info and a question

    According to the SF Chronicle, there were actually two slides in GS Bowl, a few minutes apart. Article quoted a number of snow safety pros saying that they were unsure than any bombing would have prevented the slide or set off a slide proactively.

    Having skied Squaw for decades, this was scary to see. I spend most/all of my time in the Wasatch now, and am wondering if it's now good practice to wear a beacon on powder days while skiing inbounds.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Where the sheets have no stains
    Posts
    22,282
    Having skied Squaw for decades, this was scary to see. I spend most/all of my time in the Wasatch now, and am wondering if it's now good practice to wear a beacon on powder days while skiing inbounds.
    If you own one, why not? Batteries are cheap. At the very least, early season when terrain is opening for the 1st few times. Pls post that SF chronic link. Thx.
    I have been in this State for 30 years and I am willing to admit that I am part of the problem.

    "Happiest years of my life were earning < $8.00 and hour, collecting unemployment every spring and fall, no car, no debt and no responsibilities. 1984-1990 Park City UT"

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    4
    Quote Originally Posted by Bunion 2020 View Post
    If you own one, why not? Batteries are cheap. At the very least, early season when terrain is opening for the 1st few times. Pls post that SF chronic link. Thx.
    I don't. Was considering whether to buy,

    https://www.sfchronicle.com/outdoors...e-18617383.php

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Where the sheets have no stains
    Posts
    22,282
    "If" you plan any side-country skiing (hate that term) and if you plan to get into the Wasatch BC scene, definitely, along with the other 2 pieces of mandatory gear, shovel & probe.

    A charge is detonated on Jan. 11 to remove avalanche risk near the scene of Jan. 10's deadly slide at Palisades Tahoe Ski resort in Olympic Valley.
    Scott Strazzante/The Chronicle

    Palisades Tahoe did not fire off explosives as part of its mitigation efforts in the hours before the Jan. 10 deadly avalanche and the resort acknowledged that there were actually two slides that morning on their slopes trapping skiers, the Chronicle has learned.

    In their most detailed comments yet, resort officials said Friday that they had set off charges on Jan. 7 and 9, but that they generally refrain from bombing when there is light snowfall. When asked about eyewitness accounts told to the Chronicle of a second slide that morning at Palisades, the resort acknowledged for the first time that “there were two snow slides in relatively the same area minutes apart,” underscoring the dicey conditions.

    Palisades spokesperson Patrick Lacey also said an investigation into the Jan. 11 in-bounds avalanche at Alpine Meadows, which trapped no one, had been completed. The 150-foot-wide and 8-foot-deep slide happened despite explosive charges set off in the Wolverine Bowl area, the site of the slide, and ski cutting assessments above the slope, Lacey said. The Jan. 10 investigation is still ongoing by the resort and Placer County Sheriff’s Office, but Lacey defended the decision not to set charges and said other safety work was done.

    Our patrol conducted a thorough assessment, as is their routine every morning, clearing the terrain for opening,” he said. “Generally, we refrain from using charges when there is minimal snowfall. Nonetheless, our team diligently evaluates the slope daily, regardless of the prevailing conditions.”

    Snow safety experts who spoke to the Chronicle about the slide say bombing the runs that day may not have prevented the incident, as eliminating such snow falls is as unpredictable as Lake Tahoe’s snowpack this season.

    “It’s such a subjective thing. You just can’t say you should’ve. Avalanche mitigation is more of an art than science,” said Steven Siig, the co-producer, co-writer and co-director of “Buried: The 1982 Alpine Meadows Avalanche.” “You could’ve been bombing left and right and just end up with a bunch of holes. And then someone skis the same area and hits the snow at a certain angle or weight, and it sets off.”

    Siig and other experts point to a “complicated snowpack,” as the likely culprit for the Palisades incidents, as well as a large number of avalanches so far this season. The Sierra Avalanche Center has recorded 57 avalanches this winter, not including the three inbounds slides at Palisades Tahoe resorts last week, with 46 of those happening in the last two weeks. Siig said many locals and regulars were caught off guard with the Jan. 10 slide inside the confines of a ski resort with such little snowfall preceding it.

    “This was a wake-up call. People who always wear beacons were out that day without them,” Siig said. “We’re not used to seeing this kind of snowpack. It’s a very complicated snowpack.”

    Bottom line, experts and ski veterans say: When you ski or snowboard in the wilderness there are no guarantees. Bombing, grooming, weather and condition monitoring can certainly help lessen risks, but constantly changing conditions create a dynamic, fluctuating threat level. The key, experts said, is to find the proper balance if we want to continue to play in the wilderness.

    David Eddy, the 64-year-old son of a ski patrolman, arrived at Palisades around 7:45 a.m. on Jan. 10 to avoid traffic, secure good parking and stretch out with a coffee in the lodge before the lifts opened at 9 a.m.

    Tom Day, a world-renown filmmaker with Warren Miller Entertainment, was on KT-22 when the avalanche hit and was caught completely off guard.

    “When I woke up that morning there was a literal dusting on my car,” Day said. He remembered being disappointed that the powder might be lackluster.

    “Avalanche safety and snow science is not an exact science,” Day added. “It changes storm by storm, by temperature, moment by moment. So much goes into it.”

    Noah Gaffney, 23, of Tahoe City, said he knew Palisades bombed in the days leading up to the Jan. 10 opening, which he was there for.

    “They probably thought the 2 inches they got overnight wasn’t enough to cause a slide,” said Gaffney, who would assist in the avalanche search that day.

    Kenny Blum, 52, of Truckee, was one of the first riders up the KT lift and watched the avalanche from the chair lift that morning.

    “The ski patrol there has been very thorough and cautious in the last few years and I trust them immensely,” he said. “I can’t imagine they would pass on bombing for any other reason than thinking the snowpack was stable enough to ski safely.”

    Duncan Lee is an avalanche expert who teaches classes on snow safety. A combination of three occurrences can lead to an avalanche: weak snow, terrain at more than a 30-degree slope and a trigger.

    “Right now the way it’s set up, you need to get the perfect trigger point for it to collapse,” he said.

    The unstable snowpack started with early season snow and then no precipitation. That early snow sat on the ground and hardened, especially in shady areas.

    “Those sharp-grained facets are loose and don’t pack,” Lee said. When more snow dropped, it created a slab on top of that unstable base layer. Siig compared it to a several-foot slab of snow sitting on ball bearings.

    “The best way to fix it is time,” Lee said. Deep, warm snow can actually alter the grains in the weak layer and fuse the entire pack together over time. “Hopefully, in a couple weeks we’ll be done with the bad layers,” he said.

    Should resorts close until the snowpack stabilizes?

    “Closing the ski areas would be more of a problem,” Siig said. “Then you’re letting that layer just sit there.”

    One of the best preventative measures is skier compaction. Over time, the weight of skiers and snowmobiles helps solidify the snowpack, which is another reason why the opening day of the KT runs posed additional risk.

    Maybe the biggest illustration of how bombing is not the be-all-end-all in avalanche safety happened the day after the deadly avalanche. Before the Jan. 11 slide at Alpine Meadows, which is owned by the same company, Palisades bombed in the area and yet an avalanche happened near Wolverine Bowl that afternoon.

    “It’s a very difficult job to be in those shoes,” Lee said of ski patrol. “They’re doing the best they can and it’s a tricky situation.”

    Lacey explained how snow safety assessments start with current and historical weather data, and forecasts are discussed among avalanche control teams. Once on the slope, they relay observations and mitigation results by radio.

    “Explosives are one of the tools patrol uses to test the stability of the slope,” Lacey said. “Explosives are a very common and effective tool for avalanche risk mitigation programs. They are used both to initiate avalanches and to test snowpack stability by ski areas.”

    In addition to charges, Palisades has Gazex installations, which shoot out propane and oxygen and the resulting shockwave can trigger an avalanche for mitigation purposes.

    Until the Chronicle asked about a second Jan. 10 avalanche, Palisades had not mentioned it. But they confirmed what skiers had been telling the paper.

    “Through our investigation and witness accounts we have determined there were two snow slides in relatively the same area minutes apart,” Lacey said. “Patrol was on scene immediately for both slide paths.”

    Famed filmmaker Day had just finished a sweep of the first avalanche debris field below G.S. Bowl, when he heard people yell “Avalanche!” from near the Women’s Downhill run. He locked eyes onto a tumbling snowboarder, using a group of trees as a point of reference.

    “It was two totally separate incidents,” Day said, estimating a 10-minute gap between the two slides.

    That second slide stopped about 150 feet away at the same elevation, so Day traversed over to help with that search with about 10 others. They all started probing and Day’s friend got a hit with his bamboo rod after about five minutes. They quickly began digging snow and cleared an airway for a snowboarder. He thanked them and said he was unhurt.

    “The fact we got him with a probe was very, very lucky,” Day said.

    “It’s really hard on ski areas to draw that line of closing something versus leaving it open,” Day said. “Where do you draw the line is the question and I don’t know if there’s an answer to that.”

    Siig, whose movie chronicled the 1982 Alpine Meadows avalanche that killed seven and buried a survivor for five days, said there’s an “inherent risk” skiing in the mountains. People visiting ski areas should wear avalanche beacons, carry shovels and probes, and learn snow safety.

    “There are no guarantees when it comes to Mother Nature,” Siig said. “If you want to go to Disneyland, you should go to Disneyland.”
    Confusing article with a lot of "expert" opinions, some good some.... meh
    Last edited by Bunion 2020; 01-22-2024 at 05:21 PM.
    I have been in this State for 30 years and I am willing to admit that I am part of the problem.

    "Happiest years of my life were earning < $8.00 and hour, collecting unemployment every spring and fall, no car, no debt and no responsibilities. 1984-1990 Park City UT"

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