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$50 heli drops at Silverton this weekend

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
post #2 of 25

The word is to use someone else's skis if you go......pretty thin. Northern trees might be fun, however.

post #3 of 25

Ask them where they are dropping you off...word on TGR is that it isn't the normal dropoff points and condition are crust.  

post #4 of 25

Yeah, sounds like it might be worth a try if you're in the area and just want to say you went heli-skiing. Not so worth a dedicated trip, if you're looking for an epic heli experience.

 

Single heli drops are normally like $150 at Silverton--would probably be better off waiting for prime conditions and paying the extra money.

post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 

Yeah, I heard from my sis-in-law, she wasn't recommending it, lol.

post #6 of 25

Supposed to start snowing Sunday night -- wonder if they are running the help on Monday?  Of course, it might be scrubbed for weather.frown.gif

post #7 of 25
Thread Starter 

Crap, just got word there was a fatality today, unguided heli operations ... 

post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

Crap, just got word there was a fatality today, unguided heli operations ... 



Or maybe it was during a guided group -- two emails are saying two things, so I'll just shut up. But it's very sad nonetheless.

post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post


Or maybe it was during a guided group -- two emails are saying two things, so I'll just shut up. But it's very sad nonetheless.



It was a guided tour. Sad to hear.RIP.

 

post #10 of 25

This is terrible - too young.

 

Article says that she slid 1500'.  Surface must have been very hard.  It is sometimes necessary to close due to conditions.  That's a long slide.

post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post

This is terrible - too young.

 

Article says that she slid 1500'.  Surface must have been very hard.  It is sometimes necessary to close due to conditions.  That's a long slide.



Yeah, it was on Riff, off the top on the backside (sunny aspect). She slid through a choke.

post #12 of 25

According to the Durango Herald the fall occurred on a run called "Riff" during guided skiing, which would not have been a heli drop.  Even though the mountain was open for unguided, you could still pay extra to get in a guided group, which is apparently what the accident victim had done.  Often times the guided skiing will get you runs that are closed to unguided skiers, but I do not believe that was the case with this accident.  Riff is a run on the backside that can be accessed off the top of the chair without hiking, just a 200 yd. traverse.  It starts right below the heli pad and is directly across the valley from where they were heli skiing, just a little more down valley, and it uses the same exit road.  Riff is a fairly steep wide chute, probably about 35-40 degrees right from the top that chokes down to a short 15- foot wide gap in the rocks about 3/4s of of the way down.  Considering the conditions on much of the area have been described as "boiler plate," it is not hard to imagine what happened.

 

This terrible tragedy should serve to warn others that Silverton Mountain is not like other "ski areas" and you need to honestly consider the conditions as well as your abilities when deciding to ski there on any particular day or run.  It is impossible to say if the accident could have been avoided, unless they had closed the mountain.  There was information available in advance as to the extremely adverse snow conditions that could be expected, but you had to look for it.

 

My condolences to the young girl's family and friends. This is a very sad day for skiers.

post #13 of 25

But should guides really be taking groups into a fall/die situation? If I'm skiing with an instructor or guide I assume they will not take me into a situation where the chance of dying from a fall is extremely high.

post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by aschick View Post

But should guides really be taking groups into a fall/die situation? If I'm skiing with an instructor or guide I assume they will not take me into a situation where the chance of dying from a fall is extremely high.



I think silverton plays by slightly different rules.

 

I found myself in situation similar to this at the bird. Skiing spring corn with a group of Level 8-9 students we ended up on slope that I thought would be softened, it wasnt. I asked the group to go very slow and made it clear sid slipping was perfectly ok. A girls ski popped off while she was skiing and when her attempt to dig in her other ski only sent it flying and tumbling making a pole self arrest impossible(something I did cover in high end group like that) she tumbles slide the entire length of tiger tail about 700-900 vertical feet. I literally did think that she was dead. She was 100 percent ok.

 

Nobody has hindsight, but if I did there is no way I would have been there on that slope with snow like that. With that said I took every single precaution including how to stop ourselves during a steep fall.

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post



I think silverton plays by slightly different rules.

 

I found myself in situation similar to this at the bird. Skiing spring corn with a group of Level 8-9 students we ended up on slope that I thought would be softened, it wasnt. I asked the group to go very slow and made it clear sid slipping was perfectly ok. A girls ski popped off while she was skiing and when her attempt to dig in her other ski only sent it flying and tumbling making a pole self arrest impossible(something I did cover in high end group like that) she tumbles slide the entire length of tiger tail about 700-900 vertical feet. I literally did think that she was dead. She was 100 percent ok.

 

Nobody has hindsight, but if I did there is no way I would have been there on that slope with snow like that. With that said I took every single precaution including how to stop ourselves during a steep fall.



if you're just sliding, not ragdolling, and you don't impact something with your head or another vital organ- your chances are probably pretty good.

 

As far as hindsight - hey you can always take more precautions. But skiing inbounds with an ice axe is usually frowned upon.

post #16 of 25


Quote:

Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post

 A girls ski popped off while she was skiing and when her attempt to dig in her other ski only sent it flying and tumbling making a pole self arrest impossible...

 

BwPA's story and the Silverton accident are illustrations of why the insurance company recommended DIN settings can be dangerous in some situations. When the going gets rough it can be way more dangerous for your ski bindings to release than not.

post #17 of 25

Here's a 360° video I took during a June hike/ski from what I believe is the heli-pad. Hopefully, Mudfoot can confirm and identify the Riff run (ie, center of vid at 'x' minute). Turn down volume, the wind is annoying.

 

post #18 of 25

I believe Alpinord is correct and this was taken from around the heli landing zone across the valley looking back at the backside of the Silverton Mt. area.  If you stop the video at about 26 sec. when you see the road in the valley leading back to the base area in the lower right hand corner of the picture, you see a big patch of snow on the ridge line with two long thin needles of snow extending down.  Cabin Run is to the far right bordered by the thick trees, and Waterfall Run (large open patch) is to the left of the needles  The chair comes up the other side and its top is in the saddle at the top of Waterfall.  The heli take off spot is up on the ridge line patch of snow to the right of the saddle.  Riff and Raff are between the needles of snow, with Riff on the left.  You can see it is open on the top and bottom with rocks in the middle section. From the top of the snow patch to the bottom of the valley is approximately 2,000 vertical feet.

post #19 of 25

What a sad story!  Best wishes to her family and friends and to the others that were with her this weekend.

 

That being said...  I really wish we could get some more information about this and the cause.  Was it snow conditions?  Was the girl over her head?  Was there an equipment issue or failure?  Could it have been prevented?  What can we learn from this (besides that this is a risky sport.)

 

I'm half-planning to go to Silverton in 2 weeks.  It would be nice to know how better to approach this since it will be my first experience in a backcountry-style forum.

post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post

I believe Alpinord is correct and this was taken from around the heli landing zone across the valley looking back at the backside of the Silverton Mt. area.  If you stop the video at about 26 sec. when you see the road in the valley leading back to the base area in the lower right hand corner of the picture, you see a big patch of snow on the ridge line with two long thin needles of snow extending down.  Cabin Run is to the far right bordered by the thick trees, and Waterfall Run (large open patch) is to the left of the needles  The chair comes up the other side and its top is in the saddle at the top of Waterfall.  The heli take off spot is up on the ridge line patch of snow to the right of the saddle.  Riff and Raff are between the needles of snow, with Riff on the left.  You can see it is open on the top and bottom with rocks in the middle section. From the top of the snow patch to the bottom of the valley is approximately 2,000 vertical feet.


Thanks for verifying. I thought that was the area. Here's a better shot:

 

IMG_0246.jpg

 

Rbosworth, the snow sucked up there and throughout the San Juans. Crusty, boiler plate and rotten snows. It could have been simply a nervous skier making a mistake at the wrong moment. I can only guess from what I've read and heard. The variable conditions were not for the feint of heart or for someone in doubt of there abilities or gear.

 

Today we had nice powder in the area, but I'll bet that the crust sitting on the rotten TG can load up and create more variable and in some cases dangerous conditions needing to be managed. Keep your eye on the storms and CAIC reports.

post #21 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rbosworth View Post


 What can we learn from this (besides that this is a risky sport.)

 

 

 



Know how to self-arrest.

post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post


Know how to self-arrest.


IIRC, a comment on TGR suggests she may have hit her head initially and rag-dolled down the run suggesting she was unconscious and could not self arrest.

 

 

post #23 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post


IIRC, a comment on TGR suggests she may have hit her head initially and rag-dolled down the run suggesting she was unconscious and could not self arrest.

 

 


Could be ... but, still a good idea to know how to self-arrest if you're going there and it's slick. 

post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post


Could be ... but, still a good idea to know how to self-arrest if you're going there and it's slick. 


True.

 

To add, you also need to be able decide or chose whether or not the risk vs reward is worth it or if it's simply not the right time to drop in.....no matter how much you spent in time and money getting to that point. Some days the call is to turn around and save it for another opportunity or modify your route choice.

 

 

post #25 of 25

Update from The Durango Herald:

Ski may have popped off before fatal slide:

 

Quote:

A 25-year-old Denver woman is believed to have experienced an equipment problem before sliding 1,500 feet to her death Saturday at Silverton Mountain.

San Juan County Coroner Keri Metzler on Thursday said skier Sydney Elizabeth Owens may have had a ski pop off and been unable to stop before her long slide.

Owens was accompanied by friends and skiing “Riff Run” as part of a guided ski tour by Silverton Mountain employees, said San Juan County Undersheriff Kristine Burns.

The accident took place at 10:06 a.m. during Owens’ first run of the day, Burns said.

Owens was pronounced dead at 10:47 a.m. Saturday from “blunt trauma.” She was wearing a helmet at the time.

The conditions of Silverton Mountain when the accident occurred were temperate; the sky was clear, and snow was hard-packed, Metzler said.

 

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