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Cross country skiing and avalanche gear

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

After much reading it seems that backcountry alpine skiers, snowmobilers, and snowshowers always have avalanche gear when going into the backcountry. I haven't seen anything about cross country skiers bringing avalanche gear when skiing in the backcountry. Is it because it is thought that cross country skiers tend to ski across shallower slopes? If so, what is the degree of slope below which a cross country skier doesn't need avalanche gear/training?

 

On the one hand I can picture being admonished for not having gear/training for cross country in the backcountry. On the other hand I can picture being spoken down to about having the gear for no apparent reason.

 

I was actually surprised about how my Google skills were useless when it came to searching for beacon and cross country skiing together.

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 
Oh, and the backcountry in question is Summit County in Colorado. Specifically Wildernest for the first outing.
post #3 of 11

No need for avy gear on most groomed XC trails.  But on backcountry outings in hilly-mountainous terrain it is always wise to be prepared; you never know what you will find (or attempt) when exploring.  Avy danger increases markedly once slopes exceed 25 degrees, but in warm wet snow slide can happen as low as 15 degrees.  The avalanches can run out quite a ways on lower slopes and flats.  Learning about route-finding in avy terrain is the 1st step.  My wife and I always carry a beacon, shovel, probe, 1st aid kit, extra clothing, food, etc. even on relatively mellow  trips http://www.epicski.com/t/131303/voile-vector-bc-review#post_1980573.  Note we didn't go on any really steep slopes but had to cross above and below them with real hazards below if you got swept off the road.

post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the great info! Saw your pics on that trip you took. They are beautiful.

post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Carey View Post

No need for avy gear on most groomed XC trails.  But on backcountry outings in hilly-mountainous terrain it is always wise to be prepared; you never know what you will find (or attempt) when exploring.  Avy danger increases markedly once slopes exceed 25 degrees, but in warm wet snow slide can happen as low as 15 degrees.  The avalanches can run out quite a ways on lower slopes and flats.  Learning about route-finding in avy terrain is the 1st step.

^^^ This

Acquire & use a clinometer. Measure & learn the slope angles. 30 deg can be the best run of your life but 35 deg can be the last run of your life & you can't eyeball a 5 deg difference. Stay off of & out from under steep slopes. Read the Avalanche advisory, for Summit Co: http://avalanche.state.co.us

There are some good Avalanche education resources here: https://utahavalanchecenter.org/tutorials

Good luck!
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thank you. Following that link I ended up at a great tutorial site.

post #7 of 11
Rescue probably wouldn't require a beacon but your day would be ruined. I always pass this spot on quickly and on the outside if it's loaded.
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by tessa25 View Post

Oh, and the backcountry in question is Summit County in Colorado. Specifically Wildernest for the first outing.

Buffalo Mountain just above the Wildernest area has a history of avalanches. 

 

The answer is 'It depends'.  XC skiers can and do get caught in avalanches.  Generally if you stick to the trails in the forest you'll be OK.  Above tree line even the experts can't predict what will happen.

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
 Rescue probably wouldn't require a beacon but your day would be ruined. I always pass this spot on quickly and on the outside if it's loaded.

 

You know how when you read avalanche educational material and picture yourself having to do it? I keep picturing my friend getting hit by a mini slide and me running up and saying "Awe man, I didn't even get to use my beacon!" :snowfight

 

 

Quote:
 Buffalo Mountain just above the Wildernest area has a history of avalanches. 

 

Those two large slides must have been impressive to watch. (Of course hoping no people or animals are hurt).

post #10 of 11
Quote:
 it seems that backcountry alpine skiers, snowmobilers, and snowshowers always have avalanche gear when going into the backcountry. I haven't seen anything about cross country skiers bringing avalanche gear when skiing in the backcountry. 
 
I was actually surprised about how my Google skills were useless when it came to searching for beacon and cross country skiing together.

 

Have you tried searching for beacon and telemark? 

 

When I was at Summit county looking for cross country trails, I found a couple lists. All included avalanche danger level for each trail. 

 

Or, you can go down to Wilderness Sport in Frisco  and ask around. I bet someone ski where you want to ski...

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info. Lists of backcountry trails with avalanche danger would be nice to have.

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