EpicSki › Groups › 2013 EpicSki Gathering - Big Sky, Bridger Bowl, Moonlight Basin, Montana › Discussions › Things you may need for the Gathering at Big Sky/Bridger Bowl/Moonlight Basin

Things you may need for the Gathering at Big Sky/Bridger Bowl/Moonlight Basin

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

I was reading a thread with information about skiing the Big Couloir at Big Sky, and the requirement for a beacon when it occurred to me that we need to have a beacon to hit Schlasman's at Bridger too. 

 

If you plan on skiing these areas then you will need to add a Beacon to your list. 

 

What else do we need for this trip that we may not think of for another location? 

post #2 of 26

And if I do not own a beacon and do not wish to purchase one?

post #3 of 26

My understanding is that beacons can be rented from some place in Bozeman.  A couple locals also have extras they were willing to loan to Bears.  Was mentioned in the long original Big Sky Gathering thread a few months back.

post #4 of 26

One thing I forgot to mention about the Big Coulier is you also need a probe. As for renting, Panda Sports in  Bozeman has the cheapest rentals of avalanche gear. The rental shop at Bridger has complete outfits you can rent, also. I'll check into this season's rates and where you can rent them at Big Sky then post what I find in this thread later.

post #5 of 26

Dumb question. Any specs on shovels and probes and beacons?

 

Edit: asking since I don't want to spend $ and find out for some bizarre reason it would not do.


Edited by JohnL - 12/22/12 at 4:28pm
post #6 of 26
post #7 of 26

Heh. Joined this group just to make this comment:

 

If you are going to be someplace that requires beacons or other avy gear, you should learn to use said gear before you start skiing that stuff. That kind of gear, absent at least some minimal training, is little benefit to anyone in the field. In several recent incidents, it has been clear that people were running around with beacons, but did not have any idea about what it meant to put them in search mode, etc. That's actually a good way to help someone else get dead. Likewise, thinking you just dig "down" is a fine way not to save someone in time... etc.

 

It is not that big a deal to get some basic info under your belt. But it is an important deal if you are going to be in conditions where it actually matters.

 

Of course not being in the "wrong" place is the best call, but some basic training helps with that too...

 

Some quick googling will turn up the usual sites with beacon and gear reviews and info.

post #8 of 26
Quote:

Heh. Joined this group just to make this comment:

 

If you are going to be someplace that requires beacons or other avy gear, you should learn to use said gear before you start skiing that stuff. That kind of gear, absent at least some minimal training, is little benefit to anyone in the field. In several recent incidents, it has been clear that people were running around with beacons, but did not have any idea about what it meant to put them in search mode, etc. That's actually a good way to help someone else get dead. Likewise, thinking you just dig "down" is a fine way not to save someone in time... etc.

 

It is not that big a deal to get some basic info under your belt. But it is an important deal if you are going to be in conditions where it actually matters.

 

Some quick googling will turn up the usual sites with beacon and gear reviews and info.

 

+100.

 

Never owned, but used (and was trained on heli trips years ago.) Always know your gear well before you get into spots where you need it or or need to push it's limits.

 

Edit: and the most important gear is between yer ears.

post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnL View Post

I assume this will do:

 

http://www.backcountry.com/backcountry-access-essentials-package

 

That package covers the basics. You will also want a pack with a shovel pocket to carry it in. 

post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

 

That package covers the basics. You will also want a pack with a shovel pocket to carry it in. 

 

Have the pack already. Just wanted to make certain there is not some standard I didn't know about for beacons. I imagine range, weight, battery life, search features would vary by model.

post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnL View Post

 

Have the pack already. Just wanted to make certain there is not some standard I didn't know about for beacons. I imagine range, weight, battery life, search features would vary by model.

If there are any beacons currently on the market that are deemed inappropriate for OB skiing I'd sure like to know about it too.

 

The advice I got years ago was to get the simplest one to use.  At that time the hands down winner in that department was the BCA Tracker.  Does that theory still make sense to you experienced BC skiers who might be taking BC newbs into terrain where a beacon is mandatory?

post #12 of 26

http://beaconreviews.com/transceivers/

 

http://www.wildsnow.com/category/avalanche-beacon-review/

 

All modern beacons operate to international standards. So all basically do the same thing and all inter-operate. Some are more sensitive to interference, etc. But day to day, this is not likely an issue. Generally speaking, simple is good. Generally speaking, the trend has been to 3 antenna digitals (ala http://beaconreviews.com/transceivers/comparison.asp). Note the Tracker has for all practical purposes been replaced by the Tracker 2. Knowing how to use your beacon of choice is the single most critical aspect of things (if you get to where you need to use it). And how to dig, etc, etc... In short, the beacon is a tool, not magic. Carrying it for ceremonial purposes is potentially worse than not carrying one.

 

Also note that if you are entering beacon territory, how you approach this entire topic is a direct reflection of how good a friend or teammate you are. Have a beacon that is kind of beater/crappy  - odds are you you will not find me. Have not practiced? Oh, so yo are bringing it for show - and again, expect me to find you, but don't plan on trying to find me... Forgot your shovel? Take mine for the day..biggrin.gif

 

BTW - I'm just sharing what little I know. I'm about as far from a true expert as you can get.

post #13 of 26
Quote:
Likewise, thinking you just dig "down" is a fine way not to save someone in time... etc.

 

Curious to get some more info on the reasons for the recommended digging 1.5x below burial depth start location.

 

Two are obvious.

1) Don't want to be standing over buried person, making it even harder for them to breath.

2) More efficient to clear snow downhill.

 

Curious as to the other possible reasons. I can think of two possible, but I may be totally wrong. May still be having subsurface flow downhill, tending to move the person further downhill.

 

You want to clear a breathing area first. Are people statistically more likely to be buried head down the slope? (I think Tony C. may jump in on this point. wink.gif)

 

Never thought to ask these questions in the past.

post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

You will also want a pack with a shovel pocket to carry it in. 
Alternatively:
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnL View Post

Quote:
Likewise, thinking you just dig "down" is a fine way not to save someone in time... etc.

Curious to get some more info on the reasons for the recommended digging 1.5x below burial depth start location.

Two are obvious.
1) Don't want to be standing over buried person, making it even harder for them to breath.
2) More efficient to clear snow downhill.

Curious as to the other possible reasons. I can think of two possible, but I may be totally wrong. May still be having subsurface flow downhill, tending to move the person further downhill.

You want to clear a breathing area first. Are people statistically more likely to be buried head down the slope? (I think Tony C. may jump in on this point. wink.gif )

Never thought to ask these questions in the past.

http://www.genuineguidegear.com/life/blog/g3/backcountry-rescue-value-probe

You probably don't need any more reasons than your #1 and #2.
post #16 of 26
Quote:

You probably don't need any more reasons than your #1 and #2.

 

In other words, don't over think. Thanks to you an Spindrift for your advice. icon14.gif

 

Edit: and one of my main wing mans from EC and WC, TimR.

post #17 of 26

One last thought on this.

 

At least back in the day when I seemed to make it to gatherings, the attendees represented the entire skill spectrum. Abilities ranged  from relatively novice skiers (myself included) to industry pros. And groups split up accordingly. I'd imagine this is still at least somewhat the case.

 

The reason I bring this up is because the terrain in question in this thread is not stuff everyone is likely to want to attempt. Terrain and snow that really requires beacons, full kit, partners, etc. is a different kind of skiing than many are used to. While it is, IMO, within the reach of most who are interested - the decision to ski it should be an affirmative, happy, and informed one. One backed up by the acquisition of appropriate knowledge and gear. Not one made because of any sense of peer pressure or keeping up with a group or as a result of anyone else's expectations (perceived or real).

 

If getting the right gear and the training (in the broadest sense) to use it in the conditions it is required does not sing to you - just don't. There is plenty of other fine skiing out there - and the gathering should offer plenty of it. No one you'd want to ski with will think less of you for skipping the "beacon required" terrain.

 

I'm sure she'll correct me if I am mis-representing anything, but when TC says, "if you plan on skiing these areas then you will need to add a Beacon to your list. ", I'm pretty sure that was meant just as it reads - as in "if you plan"...  And should not make anyone feel pressured to hit that terrain. Or in any way less inclined to go have fun at the gathering. I worry a bit that several of us immediately focused on a bunch of technology and protocol in a way that might have made some readers think doing this is a given or expected. If I did, it was certainly not my intent.

post #18 of 26

Thanks for making it clear that the Gathering is not just for advanced/expert skiers.  I made a similar point then when someone started talking about beacons and so on in the main Gathering thread a few months ago.  I have no plans to ski anything that requires a beacon.  Spent a week at Big Sky for the first time last season and had a ball there, and at Bridger too.

 

By the way, this thread is one of the Group discussions for folks who are thinking seriously about attending, or have already added themselves to the Roll Call thread.  But that's not obvious to lurkers who don't try to Reply.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post

One last thought on this.

 

At least back in the day when I seemed to make it to gatherings, the attendees represented the entire skill spectrum. Abilities ranged  from relatively novice skiers (myself included) to industry pros. And groups split up accordingly. I'd imagine this is still at least somewhat the case.

post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post

One last thought on this.

 

At least back in the day when I seemed to make it to gatherings, the attendees represented the entire skill spectrum. Abilities ranged  from relatively novice skiers (myself included) to industry pros. And groups split up accordingly. I'd imagine this is still at least somewhat the case.

 

The reason I bring this up is because the terrain in question in this thread is not stuff everyone is likely to want to attempt. Terrain and snow that really requires beacons, full kit, partners, etc. is a different kind of skiing than many are used to. While it is, IMO, within the reach of most who are interested - the decision to ski it should be an affirmative, happy, and informed one. One backed up by the acquisition of appropriate knowledge and gear. Not one made because of any sense of peer pressure or keeping up with a group or as a result of anyone else's expectations (perceived or real).

 

If getting the right gear and the training (in the broadest sense) to use it in the conditions it is required does not sing to you - just don't. There is plenty of other fine skiing out there - and the gathering should offer plenty of it. No one you'd want to ski with will think less of you for skipping the "beacon required" terrain.

 

I'm sure she'll correct me if I am mis-representing anything, but when TC says, "if you plan on skiing these areas then you will need to add a Beacon to your list. ", I'm pretty sure that was meant just as it reads - as in "if you plan"...  And should not make anyone feel pressured to hit that terrain. Or in any way less inclined to go have fun at the gathering. I worry a bit that several of us immediately focused on a bunch of technology and protocol in a way that might have made some readers think doing this is a given or expected. If I did, it was certainly not my intent.

 

I didn't read the fine print of TC's initial post (I rarely read all the fine print), but I thought the title of "Things you may need..." was pretty clear in indicating this would not be for everyone.

 

I've been to 3 Official Gatherings (would have been 4 if not hit by an SUV last year), so it's not my first rodeo.

 

I doubt more than ~5-10 or so attendees would even consider skiing exposed terrain that required avi gear. (The avi gear requirement is a big commitment plus the exposed terrain aspect is a factor.)  If there is a big hassle getting ski patrol time slots, required guides, etc. and conditions are great elsewhere, I'll likely bag on skiing that terrain just for the hassle reason alone.

 

I doubt there will be any peer pressure to convince someone to ski possibly dangerous terrain that may be above their level. If anything, I've found the opposite pressure happens much more often (don't ski this particular terrain since you'll likely hurt yourself or the others you are skiing with.) There is a big difference between "skiing terrain generally above your ski level" and "skiing possibly dangerous terrain" Cliffs, no fall zones, etc. have been pretty much avoided (by most) at previous Gatherings.

 

I've found past Gatherings have had a great skier vibe to them, that's why I gone on so many.

post #20 of 26

I agree with JohnL in that the pressure to ski or not ski something at the 3 Gatherings I've been to has always erred on the cautious side.  The only beacon terrain I've ever skied is Schlasman's at Bridger with 3 people who know the area inside and out.

 

I was under no pressure and put myself up to it.  On the particular day we skied Schlasman's it was certainly steep (which generally doesn't bother me much), but it was firm and my pucker factor was huge.  Huge because I knew if I fell I was going to slide a long way (self arrest or not) and that was a bit disconcerting.  I'll do Schlasman's again (I'm a slightly better skier now) if it's normal mid-winter or soft conditions, but if it's what I perceive to be too firm I will not.

 

I will definitely not be doing any headwaters/big couloir etc... but I will have fun in Liberty Bowl.

post #21 of 26

Got this via Twitter:

 

 

post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylrwnzl View Post

Got this via Twitter:

 

 

The Moonlight Basin reply is exactly what's been discussed in another topic here... about media/resorts trying to sell the idea that it's easy to go to sidecountry / extreme terrain where you need gear and you are either inside or close to a resort and you are safe! If you need to rent avy gear, that pretty much shows that you shouldn't be there! Saying that well, "rent some gear and take a little apres avy training and go get the goods" is really not what I would expect to hear from a resort media channel!

post #23 of 26
Agreed!
post #24 of 26

Twitter is not the most robust communication tool. This is all contextual. A group with the right "guides" (or more experienced friends), the right "guide" to "guest" ratio, guides who know the snowpack condition and terrain well, etc... can do just fine in the right terrain with some modest focused training of their guests/friends. Think about it - this is exactly what most heli and cat ops do. A quick talk on snowpacks, a round of beacon training, some training on probing, a chalkboard talk on strategic digging, a practice beacon search, maybe a briefing on airbag packs and a demo inflation (if they provide them) and you are off... OTOH if you are going out in "beacon terrain" in a more self sufficient manner - being more trained and well....self sufficient...is a really good idea... 

 

I'm pretty sure MB is not the kind of place to be cavalier about this. If the right people are signed up to make this happen, it'd be awesome. I'm getting tempted... That said, IMO, people at different levels of ski ability  should get informed enough to make an informed decision. Simple as that.

post #25 of 26

I was at Bridger 2 years ago and they rent them in the ski shop.  Requires a $50 deposit.  Also includes a backpack with a shovel and prob.  Heading back to bridger in mid March.  So much better than here in Minnesota

post #26 of 26

Phone numbers for ski patrol.  Topic came up in a recent thread.  Anyone know the number for Bridger?

 

 

Big Sky: (406) 995-5880

 

Moonlight Basin: (406) 993-6651

 

EpicSki › Groups › 2013 EpicSki Gathering - Big Sky, Bridger Bowl, Moonlight Basin, Montana › Discussions › Things you may need for the Gathering at Big Sky/Bridger Bowl/Moonlight Basin