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What are reasonable avalanche precautions for an inbound skier? - Page 3

post #61 of 80

An airbag probably wouldn't have helped in the slide the OP referred to (I'm guessing that it wouldn't even have been deployed, but that is speculation) but the stats on it are pretty good.  I own a beacon that I will sometimes wear in-bounds, but I am going to go out on a limb and say that an airbag is likely much better if you are skiing solo (and could even be better than a beacon + partner, especially if the partner is not well trained)

 

Here is an interesting video

 


Edited by MEfree30 - 1/31/12 at 11:24am
post #62 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skierish View Post

 

 

The OP"s own source for the video, the CAIC, logged 1 inbounds death nationwide of a skier/boarder due to avalanche for all of 2010/2011...and 2 the year before.  Think about that....out of 50-60 million skier visits!  Some of the more alarmist posts about loading up on avy gear for exclusively inbounds, open run skiing strike me as indicative of a complete loss of perspective.  

God forbid, but let's say there are 10 (doubtful) deaths from inbounds avalanches this year; that would mean, Yikes, you're only 12 (as opposed to over 100) times more likely to be struck by lightning than snuffed out by an inbounds avalanche!  

Hell, you may even be more likely to be abducted by aliens....wink.gif

 

 


OK. Per some earlier comments, his = seriously flawed analysis. Likewise the other similar ones. If you want to go that direction, the question is what is the degree of avy and NARSID risk among people who ski under certain conditions and in certain terrain? Say inbounds during a storm at areas with a couple hundred known slide paths or substantial tree well issues.

 

The answer is substantially higher than 1 in 50-60 million. Quite possibly thousands of times higher.  The risk is high enough that places like Baker will not let you ride certain chairs without a buddy and gear when they feel conditions warrant that. And at least regionally, the fatality statistics do not begin to capture the close calls. Even places you'd intuitively expect to have no issues can let go under the right conditions - say luckily not burying but nonetheless wrecking someone's knee when Blue Sky Basin (IIRC) at Vail slid to ground while open a few years ago. Could have been much, much worse...

 

There is room for reasonable debate about inbounds risk. Some knowledgeable & experienced people choose not to beep or carry gear inbounds. Some do beep & carry gear. On many days, I do. But the operative word is "knowledgeable". At least minimally so... For my .02, I think Bob Lee has made some very sensible observations. Likewise TPJ and the inimitable Mr. Peters... I'd pay attention to them.

 

Just to add some additional perspective:

 

 

http://utahavalanchecenter.org/accident_canyons_ski_resort_12232007

 

http://utahavalanchecenter.org/accident_snowbird_ski_resort_12142008

 

http://avalanche.org/data.php?date=2009-2010&sort=&id=488

 

http://avalanche.org/data.php?date=2009-2010&sort=&id=492

 

http://avalanche.org/data.php?date=2008-2009&sort=&id=438

 

http://avalanche.org/data.php?date=2008-2009&sort=&id=434

 

And just for fun, see if you can find the pics & post Bob Peters put up from the Jackson Headwall slide that blew snow through the gondola top restaurant moments after the early AM crowd was evacuated...

 

 

BTW - I'm not making any claim to extensive expertise. I've only had basic training & probably am due for a refresher.  However, even in that context, a little knowledge goes a long way. And as Bob Lee points out -  the lack of understanding and knowledge here can sometimes be scary. The amount of "I read...", or "I heard from someone who read...", or just plain pulled from the air comments is just odd. Not to mention the projection of experiences at places that likely will never see major avy issues or NARSID issues is just disturbing. I don't think anyone should panic over this stuff - most days, most inbounds skiing is obviously pretty safe. But there are times and places where real hazards can be an issue. Even little real knowledge can go a long way in those situations.

post #63 of 80

Remove your pole straps. They could kill you.

Isn't that reasonable? Doesn't cost a thing.

 

Hey, Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain is available on google books:

see pg 220.   http://books.google.com/books?id=TcLzUO3Is4MC&lpg=PA223&ots=Dj42JS8Nxh&dq=Narrow%20skis%20and%20avalanche&pg=PA220#v=onepage&q=Narrow%20skis%20and%20avalanche&f=false

 

Bush is right apparently about the narrow skis (he loves that I'm sure)  Although large rocker might be worse for imparting pressure to the snowpack - I don't know.

There's a 10 point list to follow.

One of them is do figure 8's or spoon tracks - it lessons the risks.  The video from Verbier shown before - the guy was in the middle not near the old tracks, it could've gone off anyway though who knows.

post #64 of 80
Forgot to remove my pole straps when I went into the trees on Saturday. Left one caught, pulled me right down, glad I wasn't skiing to fast as it was the trail out at the bottom. It's something I rarely forget to do, but the time I do...it happens.
post #65 of 80

A couple of things to remember.

 

Ski areas with experienced professional staffs that regularly perform avalanche mitigation do an excellent job. The main danger is when either a slope or area is being opened for the 1st time that season or shortly thereafter. The secondary danger is during periods of heavy precip. along with wind.

 

If you own a beacon and these conditions are present, by all means wear it. If you plan to hit the sidecountry, have the beacon, shovel, probe and some education and partner(s).

 

But the majority of skiers do not need the entire kit for skiing within the boundaries of an area with a professional snow safety program.

post #66 of 80

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skierish View Post

The OP was asking about mitigating avalanche risk in inbounds terrain, and given the statistical likelihood of him falling prey to such an occurrence, the advice of those of us telling him to not worry about it and just enjoy his day of inbounds skiing is every bit as legitimate as your advice and some of the other posts here advocating a full-on anti-avy arsenal.

 

The OP"s own source for the video, the CAIC, logged 1 inbounds death nationwide of a skier/boarder due to avalanche for all of 2010/2011...and 2 the year before.  Think about that....out of 50-60 million skier visits!  Some of the more alarmist posts about loading up on avy gear for exclusively inbounds, open run skiing strike me as indicative of a complete loss of perspective.  

God forbid, but let's say there are 10 (doubtful) deaths from inbounds avalanches this year; that would mean, Yikes, you're only 12 (as opposed to over 100) times more likely to be struck by lightning than snuffed out by an inbounds avalanche!  

Hell, you may even be more likely to be abducted by aliens....wink.gif

 

Apparently aliens visited Solitude recently.  Video of recent inbounds avy there:

 

Check out the comments:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtrueGaMGFs

 

 

post #67 of 80

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cstreu1026 View Post

...and sticking to groomed trails will keep you out of harms way but that wasn't really my point.  There are things all around you that can kill you and you will make yourself sick worrying about what might have been.  The point I intended to make is that you can go through life afraid of everything without ever really understanding the hazard or you can get the skills and education needed to make wise decisions and enjoy life.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post

That last sentence was very well said!  The underlined bit is the whole thread in a nutshell. For particular mountain, there are a handful of days each season that given basic avalanche awareness and evaluation skills, make carrying gear inbounds a reasonable choice. YMMV.

 

+1 for all that.
 

 

post #68 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

 

 

Apparently aliens visited Solitude recently.  Video of recent inbounds avy there:

 

Check out the comments:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtrueGaMGFs

 

 

 

Very cool video. Good find.

post #69 of 80

Reading this thread made me aware of how little I know about avalanches; tried looking for a class near me, but I might have to wait until I'm at Tahoe again. But I did find a good resource online; a trust set up by the parents of one of the three Kiwis mentioned above called "The James Gordon Avalanche Trust" (the other two were Chris Coster and Craig Mowat). They provide education and packs for hire. Their website seems like a good resource with some good links, of which the American Avalanche Association's avalanche.org seems to have the best education page.

post #70 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xela View Post

For me, there are three issues related to carrying a shovel and probe at a resort:

 

1. Training.  I don't have it and I don't have any partner prospects who are even interested in getting it.  Isn't this why we go to resorts instead of the backcountry?

 

2. Fitting on the lifts.  With all the gear in a backpack, sitting on a charlift gets a bit precarious.

 

3. The statement.  What might it say to patrollers when they see me with all the gear?  "I don't trust that this place is safe."  "I'm seeking out danger."  "I can do your job."  "I'm here to help you guys out."  What could it say to other skiers?  "I'm badder than you."  "I'm such a snow expert."  In consideration of #1, I don't want to send any of these messages.

 

I'm not saying there aren't times when I think it might not hurt to have a shovel along.  Mostly, I'm thinking about tree wells, though.

1.  better to dig with a shovel than with your hands, better to probe with a probe then with a ski poll.   But yea, you are much safer at a resort then BC.  The amount of deaths within a resort due to avs, is pretty small considering the amount of people skiing.  I am just guessing, but you are probably 100 times more likely to get into a wreck on the drive then an avalanche. Again just guessing, does anyone have numbers on this?  

2. I wear a pack all the time, and you get use to it.  

3. No one is going to think anything, and why would you care? 

 

Edit/add  av video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0RWLxOFGLY


Edited by pdiddy - 2/1/12 at 3:11am
post #71 of 80

Bunion's post a few up about the main dangers being either start of season, or during heavy precip with wind loading, needs to be emphasized.   Unfortunately I can't get it to quote right now.  Very quickly after an area opens up the snowpack starts to change due to among other things skier compaction, and look very different from even stable snow outside the resort.

 

 In terms of overall things to be concerned about, even then inbounds slides are not big risks relative to, say, trees, falling off of or into cliffs, etc.  There is no harm in learning more about snow safety, IF you do so responsibly and thoroughly, and don't then compensate by exposing yourself to more risk than you otherwise would have.  However, given the cluster that often ensues if you check that people who own or think they own gear actually know how to use it, it is clear to me that a significant number of people do not practice and also cognitively have trouble thinking through some basic stuff given the natural stress of an outside environment that overall they often don't spend much time in. 

 

View inbounds slides in non-closed areas as sort of like sharks and surfers, big headlines that actually are not a big deal in terms of day to day risk.  With more and better terrain open these days, it is also true that sometime in the next decade or so there's likely to be a bad scene one day inbounds where the word "slide" is at least partially involved.  When that happens, what I hope people remember is all the millions of people who got recreational benefit from using terrain like that, so that the terrain gets kept open.  Running into trees we know will kill a certain number of skiers and riders every year, but though they are a bigger danger than slides, they aren't as big a headline, and don't have the ability to create as large an accident in one go.   

post #72 of 80
post #73 of 80

Earlier in this thread I mentioned beacon basin at Squaw.  I went there the other day and couldn't get a signal..I checked my beacon against another one and it seemed to be working, so I'm guessing the basin isn't working (I think I had the same problem last year, although 2 years ago patrol there was giving free talks--not a formal course--with practice in the beacon basin.) Anyone know about this?

post #74 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

Another inbounds burial:
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53643038-78/avalanche-utah-county-buried.html.csp
Fukkin' aliens.



Partial burial, with minor injuries.  Contrast that with the number of people who have inevitably gotten themselves f'ed up at Snowbird, or any other large resort in the U.S., by other means so far this year.

 

Rank it well below parks, trees, collisions with other skiers, heart attacks, strokes, and going out on a limb here, probably the flu and altitude sickness as things to be concerned about if you ski out west, even IF you ski terrain similar to where that skier got caught.  Not a big deal in terms of day to day risk, though a good headline.  Read beyond the headline, you also see a rapid temp change, and if you dig further, there are other things suggesting that this is in fact just like someone getting bit by Fluffy the Great White Shark at a beach in CA -- a big headline, but not a meaningful risk.

 

To go out on another limb, I'm pretty confident you're safer skiing open inbounds terrain just after a storm, where slides are a small, but potential, risk, than you are skiing a mellow groomer at the same resort, where you are exposed to collisions at often higher speeds with other skiers, trees, and other fun objects, not to mention emotional trauma if your bro says your carving "float" didn't really...make it happen in the "hi C" that time...groomers can be an emotional boneyard, for sure...

 

Now, I'm also pretty confident Bob Lee could find small terrain features that he could get to release on open inbounds terrain  in some cases.  I could have anyone here swimming with sharks pretty easily where it would not feel fun to be doing so.  But, for a large variety of reasons, in real time this doesn't usually happen. 

 

post #75 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post

Partial burial, with minor injuries....

 

Rank it well below parks, trees, collisions with other skiers, heart attacks, strokes, and going out on a limb here, probably the flu and altitude sickness as things to be concerned about if you ski out west, even IF you ski terrain similar to where that skier got caught.  Not a big deal in terms of day to day risk...


Perhaps, but look at how many precautions most people take against all the hazards you mention.  Some might feel it makes sense to take certain amount of precaution when hazard presents itself.

 

But my point was that the possibility of inbounds avalanche exists, at least somewhat more imminently than abduction by aliens. 

post #76 of 80


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

Another inbounds burial:
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53643038-78/avalanche-utah-county-buried.html.csp
Fukkin' aliens.


Wow, I had forgotten about this thread!  Have a hard time letting go, Bob???

That IS a cool video you found, though, but can you prove conclusively that aliens didn't set it off?  I hear they're pretty clever about covering their tracks.

 

In any case, I hope you didn't seek that out on my account, because....

1) I never said inbounds avalanches don't happen.

2) I never said people don't get caught in inbounds avalanches.

3) I never even said that people aren't killed on rare occasions by inbounds avalanches.

What I said was that your odds of being killed by an inbounds avalanche on an open an unrestricted run are infinitesimally tiny.....1 in many millions.  I stick by that.  

There's a lot of equivocation in many of the above posts, but I don't see anyone disputing the actual hard numbers involved, which I believe anyone would agree are taken from a quite credible source. To add to that, MSNBC recently reported that only 40-some people have been killed nationwide by inbounds avalanches since 1950.

 

Obviously, people can gear up for avis while skiing exclusively inbounds if they so choose, but I still say it's "armored underwear" overkill.  While their record may not be absolutely perfect, it's close enough to perfect that I'm more than comfortable trusting Ski Patrol to keep open runs as safe as any skier can reasonably expect.  

Aren't you Ski Patrol, Bob?  Whether you are or aren't, I'll add....

4) I never questioned your competence or experience with respect to avi gear and training, only its necessity within the strict confines of skiing only inbounds and within the ropes.  

 

Anyway, if it makes you feel better, I'll start carrying a note in my pocket that says something like, "Bob Lee warned me, and I wouldn't listen."  That way if an inbounds avalanche kills me, the newspaper accounts will mention that authorities are baffled by the cryptic note found in the victim's (my) pocket, and you can bask in the warmth of having "won" an internet spat! 

Can I get that Bro-Hug now???

 

post #77 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skierish View Post

Wow, I...

I ...

I...

I ...

I...

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I...

I...

I...

I...

...but I...

I'm...

I'll add....

I...

I'll...

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(my)...

 

Heh.  Were you suggesting that I was being a little obsessive?

 

Quote:

Can I get that Bro-Hug now???

 

Um, no.

post #78 of 80

Never overlook the benefits of deploying an airbag in a pushy liftline.

post #79 of 80

for inbounds, but planning for some off-piste/side country, for me, it's reasonable to carry a beacon when I'm either in unfamiliar terrain/area or the ski area is on some general avalanche alert. If the area pros are on heightened alert, I would consider a shovel and probe and certainly not skiing alone.

Thanks to you guys from LL/Banff for your comments - I'm payin attention...

As for skiers above 'waiting', that almost never happens unless the line of sight is very clear and obvious, like open snowfields. If you;'re in tight terrain and near obstacles and trees, it's likely they won;t be looking for you nor spotting you before they drop in... so don;t expect it.

even small sluffs and slides can do you in, especially if you're near some lumber or rock, just a whack can take you out.

good discussion; and if avoidance thru knowledge doesn;t quite work, then doin something to aid recovery seems a smart thing.

post #80 of 80
I know the discussion it's completely based on the American system and terminology of what is "inbound" and "outbound", but please, allow a poor European to add some "external" perspective on the matter.
In Italy, anything, anything which is not groomed, essentially untracked and unsigned with identificative marks, is "out of bound". As such is mandatory by law to carry the avy gear.
Be it 1 foot aside a run or miles away in the emptiness.
Moreover, to trigger an avalanche is defined as a "possible crime" by the italian legislation and for such reason subject to investigation by the preposted authorities (police/carabinieri)

I stumbled uponn this thread in another forum, and it's an example of what I'm saying:
http://www.sommerschi.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1735&hilit=tonale+sgualdrina+cantiere&start=60

it0's in german, but pictures speak no language.
If you look on page 6, and scroll down about one third, you'll see pictures of a guy skiing off-piste, in what may seem out of bounds and far away from anything.
In truth he's some 20 feet away from the lift, just one foot out of a marked trun, in a spot I ski often even nowadays.
On the second "round" he triggered an insignificant avalanche (check picts of him in it) guess what? Carabinieri were called and he was interrogated, and subsequently fined before being released (apparently one of the involved investigators applied a bit "salt" to the matter, but even so, it took some hours) but consequences could have been worse, much worse (he could have died or he could have been imprisoned pending a trial or pre-trial. And with the chronical overload of our judicial system, that could mean months if not in a jail, months/years of waiting for a trial date to be defined, not a nice thing to have pending on anyone's head)
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