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A Dangerous Day in the Wasatch

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 

The Utah Avalanche Center's preliminary report on the slide that killed Jamie Pierre states that there were at least 12 skier-triggered avalanches today.  Another skier was injured in a slide in Gunsight at Alta.  I don't know how many folks were at Snowbird (besides J.P. and his buddy), but from the discussion on TGR it seems like quite a few were at Alta.  Neither area is open for the season yet, so there's been no avalanche control -- it's backcountry conditions. 

 

I've no doubt that some of these folks were being prudent, had sufficient training and proper gear, but I suspect that many were in over their heads (definitely no pun intended).  Each year, more people are getting into skinning or hiking for their turns.  It makes me wonder if there will be long-term consequences to today's events.

post #2 of 65

Preseason touring is always sketchy and the warning signs  were obvious even to me 100 miles away. Thin rotten early season snow pack, the potential for surface facets,. a big  dump of wet snow on top, lots of wind drifting form multiple fronts passing through. Yea the danger signs were obvious before people even got their skins on. 

 

Quote: http://utahavalanchecenter.org/avalanche_alta_gunsight_couloir_11132011

 

Witnessed 3 avalanches in less than 30 minutes. The first was released by the first of many people to drop into Gunsight Coulior. It ran to the bottom without carrying the skier. Then several more people dropped in, sometimes two or three riding at once. About the 5th person to drop in released a bigger slide that carried him to the bottom. Members of his party reached him quickly and shouted to call 911. As the injured waited for help, people continued to drop in and ski down directly above. Shortly after (while the injured was still waiting for help) a snowboarded dropped in 50 yards downridge (North) and released a soft slab that ran over a cliff band and into some small pine trees - luckily not carrying the rider. A second rider dropped in and rode to the first rider. Both continued down without any additional incidents. We did not travel into the danger area to get better details on the slides, but the activity we were witnessing seemed downright suicidal. When we left there were still people hiking up the ridge and preparing to ride the same or similar slopes.

 

The best warning signs for avalanches is avalanches. I am not sure how people saw all these slides and just skinned past these fractures 20 minutes later  with out saying holy shit we need to get out of here.

post #3 of 65

Wow, hadn't heard about J.P. frown.gif

post #4 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Altanaut View Post

The Utah Avalanche Center's preliminary report on the slide that killed Jamie Pierre states that there were at least 12 skier-triggered avalanches today.  Another skier was injured in a slide in Gunsight at Alta.  I don't know how many folks were at Snowbird (besides J.P. and his buddy), but from the discussion on TGR it seems like quite a few were at Alta.  Neither area is open for the season yet, so there's been no avalanche control -- it's backcountry conditions. 

 

I've no doubt that some of these folks were being prudent, had sufficient training and proper gear, but I suspect that many were in over their heads (definitely no pun intended).  Each year, more people are getting into skinning or hiking for their turns.  It makes me wonder if there will be long-term consequences to today's events.



never is long term people think they are invincible. 

 

Me arm chair quarterbacking from accross the country knew that old october layer was there, and great caution should be  used.

post #5 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post
The best warning signs for avalanches is avalanches. I am not sure how people saw all these slides and just skinned past these fractures 20 minutes later  with out saying holy shit we need to get out of here.


I was out in Les Arcs in 2008 on what sounds like a similar day- every couloir seemed to have a slid while normally you would see one or two at most.  I was out with a local buddy who kept apologizing for taking me on flatter, safer terrain than we would normally do.  I knew enough to know that he had nothing to be sorry about.  That night he told me that 2 guys had got caught and died on the back side (out of resort in the National Park in definite av terrain)

post #6 of 65

http://utahavalanchecenter.org/accident_gad_valley_11132011

 

They're not naming names here, but supposing this one is about J.Pierre.

post #7 of 65

BW, a month ago someone said: I hope this (Tahoe) snow sticks. you said: why do you want it to stick yet? you want it to come in all at once. truth.

I was just asking my neighbor who skis BC what he thought it will be like here with this old frozen layer of 'sugar' (facets) when the first set of storms does come in? He said it depends if it comes in warm or cold, big or small, everything. we'll see. sounds like they had a bad first layer and that it probably had to slide before the snow pack could begin to build up. Three seasons ago we had that exact sequence at the beginning of the snowpack, and it slid quite large in Red Dog Gulley, but by pure luck no one was injured.

 

We have had some days where going up the lift on first run you can see that every little pitch on the mountain greater than 40 degrees has sloughed of its own weight, natural release, these triangles of soft snow literally everywhere. that is a similar bad sign that the snow is moving a lot. 

 

If there are any long term consequences for the future of BC skiing, it could be that privately owned ski areas will try to limit off season uphill traffic. It just isn't good for image and stoke for these events to go public with their name attached to them. Not to mention that even a ski operation's unjustified feeling of responsibility can still hurt, and whoever has some legal control will want to prevent this type of accident. Also, this could indicate that any informal system involving self-policing of this sport has just taken a major setback.


This is a thread about avalanches and new approaches to skiing? there is another to show respect and morn J.P.'s passing I guess?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post



never is long term people think they are invincible. 

 

Me arm chair quarterbacking from accross the country knew that old october layer was there, and great caution should be  used.



 

post #8 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post
The best warning signs for avalanches is avalanches. I am not sure how people saw all these slides and just skinned past these fractures 20 minutes later  with out saying holy shit we need to get out of here.


Absolutely.  The behavior reported by the UAC was crazy.  Skiing above an injured skier after a slide?  Multiple skiers on a sketchy slope?  Actions like these breach the most basic safety protocols.  Boneheads!  Is it a case of familiarity breeds contempt?  It certainly seems that way in the J.P. case.

 

From today's avalanche report:  "Alta and Snowbird resorts are closed to all touring and uphill traffic as they prepare to open for the season."  That's no doubt been planned for a while, but my question is:  could yesterday's events make closings like this the norm rather than the exception?  (And, yes I understand that Alta and part of Snowbird are on Forest Service land, so that poses some limits on what's possible...)

 

Thoughts?

 

post #9 of 65
Thread Starter 

Davluri - Hadn't seen your post when I wrote the last one.  You got to the core of my concerns.  The self-policing thing didn't work yesterday.  And yet there is no shortage of backcountry education available in SLC.  Just too many idjuts out there? 

post #10 of 65

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Altanaut View Post

Davluri - Hadn't seen your post when I wrote the last one.  You got to the core of my concerns.  The self-policing thing didn't work yesterday.  And yet there is no shortage of backcountry education available in SLC.  Just too many idjuts out there? 



There are very few posters on here who regularly ski BC, and one of the posters in this current thread ain't one of them.  There's a real problem with trying to have an informed conversation in this type of venue for that reason.

 

Availability of education and gear haven't been issues for some time.  Urban area, including all of it's social effects, and then at the micro level the comfort of seeing lots of other people doing the same thing -- clusters in that situation will happen.

 

Peer pressure can be effective in changing this, but you are correct that social costs from lack of responsible behavior can lead to a reaction down the road.

 

post #11 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

If there are any long term consequences for the future of BC skiing, it could be that privately owned ski areas will try to limit off season uphill traffic. It just isn't good for image and stoke for these events to go public with their name attached to them. Not to mention that even a ski operation's unjustified feeling of responsibility can still hurt, and whoever has some legal control will want to prevent this type of accident. 

And this takes us back to the thread on WA state passing the law making it a misdemeanor to cross a closed boundary.  Now this wasn't roped, but the resort is closed, and it sure is a good example of the fact that these are not victimless events - the risk to ski patrol if they had to go up was obviously extreme.

 

I don't see how this is BC skiing.  This is skiing a resort without the safety features in place that make skiing a resort safe(r), especially its more extreme inbounds terrain.  I think it is naive to believe that a false sense of safety is not present in these scenarios - look at the initial reports of the actions of the uphill skiers.  Would those uphill skiers and boarders have continued down after the first slide if this hadn't been Alta but had been a heli trip in Alaska?

 

 

post #12 of 65

The warnings of the impending doom were out as early as Friday.  Here is an excerpt from Sunday mornings UAC bulletin:

 

Quote:
The avalanche danger is a solid CONSIDERABLE in terrain above 9500 on northwest through east facing slopes. It could easily go to HIGH danger in the Cottonwoods if we see heavy snowfall this morning. Make no doubt that conditions are ripe for someone to get caught in an avalanche. The danger is significantly lower in areas that don’t have old snow from October which include all aspects below 9500 feet and all south facing slopes.

 

These bulletins are available & posted by 7:30am every morning.  If people choose to ignore the resources available, what can you do?  BC skiing is always a risk & it can happen to anyone who wants to play.  There are ways to mitigate the risk.  Education, experience, understanding the snowpack & being able to just say "no" are at the top of the list.

 

It is sad that someone has to pay the ultimate price to serve as a reminder to the rest of us.

 

JF

post #13 of 65

You are so full of cr%p, and in a particularly non-productive way. (If my post mis-informs, I'd be grateful to be corrected, otherwise..... with you it's like: oh, good, they're talking about walking on snow again, I can get in there and piss on some people 'cause if there's one thing I know about, it's walking on snow.) rolleyes.gif roflmao.gif

 

I actually felt that information in post 7 was helpful toward safer resort skiing; and I could give a sh&% about BC personally. If some of the danger mentioned in the OP was not at the resorts, I would not comment, but that same snowpack that made a dangerous day in the Wasatch will affect resort skiing all up and down the west until some weather phenomenon changes the dynamic. Qualifying the information: The steepness that caused all the natural sloughs at Squaw, somewhere around 40 degrees seems correct for the purposes, yes 30 to 35 degrees can be very active also. Sugar = facets (?), referring to the avi-center report: facets present in the Wasatch snowpack, posted earlier.

popcorn.gifprepared to watch elitist BC dudes (most, not all, not really very impressive as skiers or mountaineers) set me straight. 

 

O-b-v-i-o-u-s-l-y, it is not the BC enlightened and randonee skilled who have a handle on this thing. It is possible to discus good decision making on a forum, even this one, without ever touching a skin, and considering exclusively the same dangers that exist at resorts; apparently much more likely and possible, judging by the shit show BC folks regularly create now that their aspect of skiing is so trendy. If we have learned anything in the last couple years, it's that being informed about snow conditions and owning backpacks full of clever gear doesn't mean sh&%. Every single Wasatch skinner that day (members of the local BC community) knew the score (knew the danger even if not the science behind it), some of them just felt it didn't apply to themselves, being so gnarly and cool an' all. They become too emotionally invested in their goals. And many take resort attitude and disposition into the BC. Never gonna' work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post

 



There are very few posters on here who regularly ski BC, and one of the posters in this current thread ain't one of them.  There's a real problem with trying to have an informed conversation in this type of venue for that reason.

 

Availability of education and gear haven't been issues for some time.  Urban area, including all of it's social effects, and then at the micro level the comfort of seeing lots of other people doing the same thing -- clusters in that situation will happen.

 

Peer pressure can be effective in changing this, but you are correct that social costs from lack of responsible behavior can lead to a reaction down the road.

 



 

post #14 of 65

You actually make more than a couple out-there statements even in this post.  As long as people know where you're coming from...that can help the rest of the discussion.


I do feel the need to note, in particular, that the west does not have a monolithic snowpack, and in fact even locally early season snowpacks in particular can be highly variable.

 

The fact that you don't seem to know what sugar is kinda says it all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

You are so full of cr%p, and in a particularly non-productive way. (If my post mis-informs, I'd be grateful to be corrected, otherwise..... with you it's like: oh, good, they're talking about walking on snow again, I can get in there and piss on some people 'cause if there's one thing I know about, it's walking on snow.) rolleyes.gif roflmao.gif

 

I actually felt that information in post 7 was helpful toward safer resort skiing; and I could give a sh&% about BC personally. If some of the danger mentioned in the OP was not at the resorts, I would not comment, but that same snowpack that made a dangerous day in the Wasatch will affect resort skiing all up and down the west until some weather phenomenon changes the dynamic. Qualifying the information: The steepness that caused all the natural sloughs at Squaw, somewhere around 40 degrees seems correct for the purposes, yes 30 to 35 degrees can be very active also. Sugar = facets (?), referring to the avi-center report: facets present in the Wasatch snowpack, posted earlier.

popcorn.gifprepared to watch elitist BC dudes (most, not all, not really very impressive as skiers or mountaineers) set me straight. 

 

O-b-v-i-o-u-s-l-y, it is not the BC enlightened and randonee skilled who have a handle on this thing. It is possible to discus good decision making on a forum, even this one, without ever touching a skin, and considering exclusively the same dangers that exist at resorts; apparently much more likely and possible, judging by the shit show BC folks regularly create now that their aspect of skiing is so trendy. If we have learned anything in the last couple years, it's that being informed about snow conditions and owning backpacks full of clever gear doesn't mean sh&%. Every single Wasatch skinner that day (members of the local BC community) knew the score (knew the danger even if not the science behind it), some of them just felt it didn't apply to themselves, being so gnarly and cool an' all. They become too emotionally invested in their goals. And many take resort attitude and disposition into the BC. Never gonna' work.



 



 

post #15 of 65

It would be interesting to see what kind of Wasatch BC feeding frenzy was going on over at TGR just prior to this tragedy. Then it kinda' puts a damper on their TR's and bragging rights, claims, about it all, I would think. Nasty thing to say, but this rowdy yahoo BC jibbin' and huckin' thing is without any self knowledge, more showing off and bravado. The original value system that BC skiers began their sport with is in jeopardy as it becomes ridiculously popular. The core is outweighed by the masses. You have to hike a hell of a lot further out to get real anymore.

post #16 of 65

Well back in the day we called it "Ski Mountaineering", we climbed mountains & then skied down.  I had never heard of backcountry skiing till maybe 15 years ago.  The Euros had Rondonee & the Americans equivalent was Alpine Touring.

JF

post #17 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

You are so full of cr%p, and in a particularly non-productive way. (If my post mis-informs, I'd be grateful to be corrected, otherwise..... with you it's like: oh, good, they're talking about walking on snow again, I can get in there and piss on some people 'cause if there's one thing I know about, it's walking on snow.) rolleyes.gif roflmao.gif

 

I actually felt that information in post 7 was helpful toward safer resort skiing; and I could give a sh&% about BC personally. If some of the danger mentioned in the OP was not at the resorts, I would not comment, but that same snowpack that made a dangerous day in the Wasatch will affect resort skiing all up and down the west until some weather phenomenon changes the dynamic. Qualifying the information: The steepness that caused all the natural sloughs at Squaw, somewhere around 40 degrees seems correct for the purposes, yes 30 to 35 degrees can be very active also. Sugar = facets (?), referring to the avi-center report: facets present in the Wasatch snowpack, posted earlier.

popcorn.gifprepared to watch elitist BC dudes (most, not all, not really very impressive as skiers or mountaineers) set me straight. 

 

O-b-v-i-o-u-s-l-y, it is not the BC enlightened and randonee skilled who have a handle on this thing. It is possible to discus good decision making on a forum, even this one, without ever touching a skin, and considering exclusively the same dangers that exist at resorts; apparently much more likely and possible, judging by the shit show BC folks regularly create now that their aspect of skiing is so trendy. If we have learned anything in the last couple years, it's that being informed about snow conditions and owning backpacks full of clever gear doesn't mean sh&%. Every single Wasatch skinner that day (members of the local BC community) knew the score (knew the danger even if not the science behind it), some of them just felt it didn't apply to themselves, being so gnarly and cool an' all. They become too emotionally invested in their goals. And many take resort attitude and disposition into the BC. Never gonna' work.



 


I just want to point out, dav, that BACKcountry skiing actually is quite a bit different when compared to in-resort skiing or even sidecountry skiing.  Without knowing anything beyond what I've read about this particular incident (or set of incidents, obviously), there's no doubt as far as I'm concerned that this situation involves backcountry conditions since obviously there had been zero avalanche control and zero skier-pack prior to this slide.

 

The simple fact that in-resort and heavily-traveled sidecountry slopes are skied - a lot - changes the dynamics pretty significantly.  Skier tracks compact the snow and mix the layers. That results in a more (edited out the incorrect "less" thanks to tetonpowderjunkie pointing out my error)  homogenous snowpack, which diminishes - but definitely doesn't eliminate -  the chances for large and dangerous slabs to form.  Skier traffic also adds load to the snowpack, often in the exact trigger points needed to release a slab if release is going to be possible.  So, it's my contention that the amount and frequency of skier traffic inside resorts and in nearby sidecountry slopes has a very definite impact on the likelihood of serious avalanches.

 

So, I would call this a backcountry incident.  If it occurred a month from now on the same slope, it wouldn't be.  I also believe it would have been far less likely to have happened a month from now. 

 

post #18 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post

Well back in the day we called it "Ski Mountaineering", we climbed mountains & then skied down.  I had never heard of backcountry skiing till maybe 15 years ago.  The Euros had Rondonee & the Americans equivalent was Alpine Touring.

JF



"Back in the day" I was with friends above an OB Colorado slope with perfect early season untracked powder.  I foolishly said "I going first" when one of our party yelled at me to stop.  He pointed out the trees below had the bark stripped off of them or were gone (avalanche zone) and that a traverse would put us on a safer, but less steep slope.  I am no longer young, stupid and lucky, but gray with much to learn.  It pains me that every year some people won't live as long as they could if they were just a little more careful.

 

post #19 of 65

Skiing has lost a number of their most knowledgeable BC practitioners. Therefore the entire movement has to look at what they are doing. I know what you are saying and agree completely. But it's not about skills and gear, or even knowledge, but judgement. If I thought the thread needed to focus exclusively on dangers of the backcountry, I would withhold comment, but since it stated: danger in the Wasatch, it seemed to me it related to danger all along the west where this October base condition exists, resorts, sidecountry, and backcountry. Early pre-season, as you say, there is no difference between BC and resort slopes, they are all raw and not-consolidated, bad layering right down to the dirt. thanks for the comment.

post #20 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

It would be interesting to see what kind of Wasatch BC feeding frenzy was going on over at TGR just prior to this tragedy. Then it kinda' puts a damper on their TR's and bragging rights, claims, about it all, I would think. Nasty thing to say, but this rowdy yahoo BC jibbin' and huckin' thing is without any self knowledge, more showing off and bravado. The original value system that BC skiers began their sport with is in jeopardy as it becomes ridiculously popular. The core is outweighed by the masses. You have to hike a hell of a lot further out to get real anymore.


So are you saying that people are simply taking their skills to levels too quickly, without actually possessing the ability to throw big lines? Certainly, huckin big lines and drops has been around since people learned to ski those big lines, evident of some of the original big mountain pioneers, so people doing it now doesn't seem outrageous. Although it seems you are hardpressed to find skiers who fully have a grasp on their abilities, and not what there 2000 dollar set up makes them think their ability is.

 

post #21 of 65

This is always very sad and unfortunate whenever it happens.  It's easy to bicker about the qualifications and expertise desirable before entering steep areas with deep snow.  But heck, this is skiing people.  We do it for fun, and we all elect to take risks.  This guy dropped cliffs that could have easily taken his life dozens of times over and over.  It's pointless to debate whether or not he should have ventured in to this terrain without a more experienced guide or whether or not that guide would have turned back after surveying the conditions.

 

If there's no risks involved at all, then there is no rewards to be gained.  With powder, the risks usually equal the rewards. Taking huge risks is more likely to result on death.  Most agree this was not a good day condition wise to be where he ventured..

post #22 of 65

With BC skiing becoming more popular, I'm wondering if sometime in the not-too-distant future it will become a permit-only activity where you have to pass a knowledge test.  Given the amateur shit-show that went down here, I wouldn't be surprised because one idiot could easily kill several people.

 

Skiing right above an injured skier is unbelievable...

post #23 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post

With BC skiing becoming more popular, I'm wondering if sometime in the not-too-distant future it will become a permit-only activity where you have to pass a knowledge test.  Given the amateur shit-show that went down here, I wouldn't be surprised because one idiot could easily kill several people.

 

Skiing right above an injured skier is unbelievable...



They could easily have been trying to ski the slide path and not been paying attention to what was below -- there may have been all sorts of reasons not to be out, but once a cluster starts, what looks like way-off behavior could be an innocent mistake.

 

As regards some sort of "knowledge test," or gear check, the oddity about these is that yuppies would tend to do very well at these but can show horrible judgment in real time.  Combination of pressure to get turns in during time out of the office, and a priest-like belief that rituals themselves are important, can lead to things like correctly noting recent snow and slides, taking beautiful notes of a pit that shows significant risk, and then making no adjustment to actual plans.  Book learning can also be great for people who apply it correctly, it just doesn't have any value if people don't change their behavior.

 

But, yep. I could see that as one response.

post #24 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by NayBreak View Post

And this takes us back to the thread on WA state passing the law making it a misdemeanor to cross a closed boundary.  Now this wasn't roped, but the resort is closed, and it sure is a good example of the fact that these are not victimless events - the risk to ski patrol if they had to go up was obviously extreme.

 

I don't see how this is BC skiing.  This is skiing a resort without the safety features in place that make skiing a resort safe(r), especially its more extreme inbounds terrain.  I think it is naive to believe that a false sense of safety is not present in these scenarios - look at the initial reports of the actions of the uphill skiers.  Would those uphill skiers and boarders have continued down after the first slide if this hadn't been Alta but had been a heli trip in Alaska?

 

 

 

When resorts located on public land are closed, they're essentially backcountry forest land.

 

I don't necessarily believe that most skiers riding these areas are just naive. It's not necessarily easy or cheap to get all the gear and hike turns, whether that's full-on backcountry or in-resort BC. It's not like sidecountry, where you basically ride a lift, hike for 10 minutes and maybe forget about the fact that you've entered dangerous, non-controlled terrain. When you're hiking a long approach up a mountain, whether it's part of a closed resort or not, most people must realize that there's no control and avalanches are a very real danger.

 

post #25 of 65

There wasn't; however, a few TGR maggots did in fact trigger some of those slides (at least 2).
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

It would be interesting to see what kind of Wasatch BC feeding frenzy was going on over at TGR just prior to this tragedy.



 

post #26 of 65

Skier traffic results in a MORE, not less, homogenous snowpack.  I know you know this and just typed it wrongbiggrin.gif.  Good post!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post


I just want to point out, dav, that BACKcountry skiing actually is quite a bit different when compared to in-resort skiing or even sidecountry skiing.  Without knowing anything beyond what I've read about this particular incident (or set of incidents, obviously), there's no doubt as far as I'm concerned that this situation involves backcountry conditions since obviously there had been zero avalanche control and zero skier-pack prior to this slide.

 

The simple fact that in-resort and heavily-traveled sidecountry slopes are skied - a lot - changes the dynamics pretty significantly.  Skier tracks compact the snow and mix the layers. That results in a less homogenous snowpack, which diminishes - but definitely doesn't eliminate -  the chances for large and dangerous slabs to form.  Skier traffic also adds load to the snowpack, often in the exact trigger points needed to release a slab if release is going to be possible.  So, it's my contention that the amount and frequency of skier traffic inside resorts and in nearby sidecountry slopes has a very definite impact on the likelihood of serious avalanches.

 

So, I would call this a backcountry incident.  If it occurred a month from now on the same slope, it wouldn't be.  I also believe it would have been far less likely to have happened a month from now. 

 



 

post #27 of 65

RIP Jamie. Be careful everyone! Utah is crazy right now... 

post #28 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by NayBreak View Post

And this takes us back to the thread on WA state passing the law making it a misdemeanor to cross a closed boundary.  Now this wasn't roped, but the resort is closed, and it sure is a good example of the fact that these are not victimless events - the risk to ski patrol if they had to go up was obviously extreme.

 

I don't see how this is BC skiing.  This is skiing a resort without the safety features in place that make skiing a resort safe(r), especially its more extreme inbounds terrain.  I think it is naive to believe that a false sense of safety is not present in these scenarios - look at the initial reports of the actions of the uphill skiers.  Would those uphill skiers and boarders have continued down after the first slide if this hadn't been Alta but had been a heli trip in Alaska?

 

 


I have skied alta preseason in the past and there are no closed boundaries or ropes to cross. Any ropes or signs are taken down after the summer and are being put up now that the resorts are preparing to open. Alta is public land and land management decisions are left to the  FS (not by the resort) in the off season. Snowbird isa mixture of public and private lands so its likely that Pierre was trespassing.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

It would be interesting to see what kind of Wasatch BC feeding frenzy was going on over at TGR just prior to this tragedy. Then it kinda' puts a damper on their TR's and bragging rights, claims, about it all, I would think. Nasty thing to say, but this rowdy yahoo BC jibbin' and huckin' thing is without any self knowledge, more showing off and bravado. The original value system that BC skiers began their sport with is in jeopardy as it becomes ridiculously popular. The core is outweighed by the masses. You have to hike a hell of a lot further out to get real anymore.



There hasn't been much online feeding frenzy or TRs form UT so far this season because we haven't had much snow to speak of until this weekend. I think that in part contributed to the decisions of many people on Sunday.

post #29 of 65


I think that hiking, one to two hours near resorts, is getting so popular that the aggressive resort attitude is being projected onto the back country. 


 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Skiism View Post


So are you saying that people are simply taking their skills to levels too quickly, without actually possessing the ability to throw big lines? Certainly, huckin big lines and drops has been around since people learned to ski those big lines, evident of some of the original big mountain pioneers, so people doing it now doesn't seem outrageous. Although it seems you are hardpressed to find skiers who fully have a grasp on their abilities, and not what there 2000 dollar set up makes them think their ability is.

 



 

post #30 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Altanaut View Post



Absolutely.  The behavior reported by the UAC was crazy.  Skiing above an injured skier after a slide?  Multiple skiers on a sketchy slope?  Actions like these breach the most basic safety protocols.  Boneheads!  Is it a case of familiarity breeds contempt?  It certainly seems that way in the J.P. case.

 

From today's avalanche report:  "Alta and Snowbird resorts are closed to all touring and uphill traffic as they prepare to open for the season."  That's no doubt been planned for a while, but my question is:  could yesterday's events make closings like this the norm rather than the exception?  (And, yes I understand that Alta and part of Snowbird are on Forest Service land, so that poses some limits on what's possible...)

 

Thoughts?

 

 

There are no safety protocols, its just decision making. I think it can be a lot harder to make these decisions in real time than people think looking back. 
 

 

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