I skied at Aspen Mtn on 3/18. It was approx 2:50 PM and I was riding the shadow mtn double (lift 1A) I was only a few feet from the top of the lift, there was maybe one chair in front of me that was crossing the unloading area. I then hear 3 LOUD, and I mean LOUD booms to my left, and physically see avalanche explosives going off about 30-40 feet away from me max, and 4 members of ski patrol covering their ears. If I had to guess, it was about 130 dB, and made slightly less noise than firing a gun without hearing protection. It was loud enough that my ears were ringing.
I get the importance of avy control, I really do. And I assume ski patrol was trying to trigger a wet slab avalanche, which is why they threw 3 explosives at once since they can be notoriously hard to trigger. Based on seeing them laugh after they set them off, I'm guessing they did trigger a slide.
What I don't get is why they were throwing explosives an hour before closing when temps were in the low 40's and there was no significant snow in the week. Disregarding all of that, I don't get why they didn't give a warning of any sort. Not only were my ears ringing but it also scared the shit out of me....
I've been on the Sierra Chair at Copper when they've been doing avy work in the union bowl. The charges are loud but seeing as I'm a good 50-75 yards away it's not ear ringing loud.
The explosives were thrown on a different fall line than the lift line, which allowed me to actually see all 3 go off. Since ski patrol was standing a few feet from the edge of the trail, this helped shield them a little bit from the soundwave, but that didn't help my case.
This is a pic of the ski patrollers at the top of the lift right after I got off, the charges were thrown over the edge from where they were standing.
Maybe I'm being overly sensitive here, but if the I'm the same distance or closer to the charges than ski patrol and they are covering their ears, I'd kinda appreciate a heads up.