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NYT article on the Stevens Pass avy - Page 2

post #31 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post

You brought up an interesting point. While reading the article, I kept getting quite puzzled at why those two "local experts" went right, the more risky line... They should have been the ones who knew which were the safer lines!

 

But maybe that's the reason, the safer lines was no longer virgin! So for once, they gambled on the risker lines because the large group just "used up" the safer lines?


The article describes peoples style: Chris = competitive; Jack = casual; Elyse = ripping like a pro, and so on.

No one was described as repressing their desire to show their skills and rip it up, slowing down and doing a few exploratory cuts before dropping into the main lines.

 

The article repeatedly refers to a high status attributed to members of the posse.  Could be that some skiers even believed it, which is always going to cloud your vision.

 

NYC, how many reasons can you list that explain Chris and Jack going right?  And were they committed to the safety plan of staying left that was brought up before the group assembled and departed. (quote: some members did not know what others were thinking)


Edited by davluri - 12/22/12 at 12:42pm
post #32 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

 

NYC, how many reasons can you list that explain Chris and Jack going right?  And were they committed to the safety plan of staying left that was brought up before the group assembled and departed. (quote: some members did not know what others were thinking)

Well, I couldn't think of any reason why they went right, until you brought up one!

post #33 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post


The article describes peoples style: Chris = competitive; Jack = casual; Elyse = ripping like a pro, and so on.

No one was described as repressing their desire to show their skills and rip it up, slowing down and doing a few exploratory cuts before dropping into the main lines.

 

The article repeatedly refers to a high status attributed to members of the posse.  Could be that some skiers even believed it, which is always going to cloud your vision.

 

NYC, how many reasons can you list that explain Chris and Jack going right?  And were they committed to the safety plan of staying left that was brought up before the group assembled and departed. (quote: some members did not know what others were thinking)

 

 

"Some in the remaining group noticed Dessert heading away in the distance and dismissed her as an oblivious backcountry rookie."

 

This pretty much says it all about the attitude of the group. 

 

Just from reading the article, my impression is that Chris took them on an agressive and risky line. They were going to cut left at the bottom of the first meadow, to the safety zone on the shoulder,  but Chris stopped while still in the meadows.  Then the 5th or 6th skier caused the meadow to release and dumped them down into the gully. Sounds like the other guys who bailed further left were into another drainage and did not ski  tunnel cr. proper. The guys who went left said was too high danger to ski right down the gut of it and wanted to go off the side with less exposure. 

 

I am still surprised in that the article really does not mention anything that the main group of 12 did right (until it was a body recovery situation). Other than the proof of the value of airbags. 


Edited by tromano - 12/22/12 at 8:29pm
post #34 of 44
From the graphic, Chris and Jim were carried much farther down the slope than Elyse, and suffered great trauma, in addition to being buried deeper. The three weren't in the same place when they started, so there are all kinds of variables we'll never know, but would the air bags have kept her from being carried as far? Is that part of their purpose?

And I am very impressed with the article. The writing is clear and compelling, and the Times did a great job of integrating multimedia that really helped you understand the people and terrain. I hadn't realized it was the same author who wrote the article about Dereck Boogaard, another compelling piece, and I don't follow hockey.
post #35 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADKS View Post

From the graphic, Chris and Jim were carried much farther down the slope than Elyse, and suffered great trauma, in addition to being buried deeper. The three weren't in the same place when they started, so there are all kinds of variables we'll never know, but would the air bags have kept her from being carried as far? Is that part of their purpose?
And I am very impressed with the article. The writing is clear and compelling, and the Times did a great job of integrating multimedia that really helped you understand the people and terrain. I hadn't realized it was the same author who wrote the article about Dereck Boogaard, another compelling piece, and I don't follow hockey.

 

We know enough. The 3 who did not have air bags were turned into saussage, the one who did survived.  

 

The reason they suffered great trauma is that they were being ground up in a lower layer of the slide by all the massive "snow boulders". Elyse was floating higher in the less dense portion of the debris field due to the bouyant air bags.

post #36 of 44
"The 3 who did not have air bags were turned into sausage, the one who did survived."

I know you probably didn't mean to say it based on the quality of your prior posts, but we should all be a bit sensitive to the tragedy and some family members who possibly read these forums. Thanks
post #37 of 44

BC regulars I know, go out every morning conditions permit before the resorts open, are all getting air bags this year. They carry a pack out there anyway. Some talk of situations to pull the chord and situations to not use the bag. But they all have the air bags now.

 

I once talked here about decision making being the first priority, but that doesn't apply to these skiers.  These guys are going out regularly and have been making life preserving decisions for over a decade already, so are not likely to start making risky calls because of new gear.

post #38 of 44

The NYT article is certainly the best I have ever seen on the human side of avalanches- it ranks up there with "A Dozen More Turns" as a must read/ see.

 

For a more technical look at decision making and how groups make bad ones, this is a classic, and very well worth reading.

post #39 of 44

ditto....great read.  and the video/visual was pretty awesome. 

post #40 of 44

Bump - John Branch (author) and the NYTimes just won a Pulitzer Prize (for feature writing) for this story.  Anybody who hasn't, it's worth taking the time to read - in addition to great writing, the multimedia coverage is excellent and groundbreaking.

 

Edited to add link to story - http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2012/snow-fall/#/?part=tunnel-creek

post #41 of 44

Great to see it getting the recognition it deserves.

post #42 of 44

Elyse Saugstad was on TedxTalks  talking about her experience at Steven's Pass 

post #43 of 44

Trekchick, thanks for posting Elyse's TEDx talk.  I thought the NY Times article was outstanding and insightful about the events surrounding the avalanche -- well deserving of the Pulitzer its author received.  The TED talk is a great addition to the subject.  What a sad story, but a sobering reminder of the potential for dire outcomes outside of the controlled areas, even for a group as experienced as the one at Tunnel Creek.  I can only hope no one reading this forum ever has to live through such an event.

 

Ski hard, ski safe!

 

T. - wasatchreport.com

post #44 of 44

Winter 2007-2008 avalanche  that went over Highway US-2 in Tunnel creek Area. Big slides happen all the time here.

 

Crews walk along US 2

 

A snow cat sits on a 40 foot tall wall of snow covering US 2 at Stevens Pass, WA

 

Avalanche Control Work 2009 Stevens Pass

 

 

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