...it certainly exemplifies several of the heuristic traps. I happen to believe that someone who knows an area and knows the conditions can pretty well avoid avalnches on a moderate sort of day. ... My chioce is to not ski Rock Springs without gear or partners. Except for that one time when I went... on what I felt was a very low risk day. I wanted to go and broke my own rules and protocals because I thought it would be OK.
Well, as one member of that group, would you have gone on a tour with a similar level of gear and experience on the part of group members? Except for "spooky" moderate -- i.e., moderate with persistent, deep weak layers -- I agree with you, btw, regarding danger at a moderate rating, and I agree regarding choice of terrain. There are some sidecountry areas where many locals will in fact feel comfy going out without gear when they don't think they need it. Goat very helpfully focussed us on the avy fatality stats, and for sure, even with all the sidecountry cluelessness that is out there, there aren't a lot of avy fatalities.