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Yet Another In Bounds Avalanche- Big White

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
This has been all over the news last night and this morning.
http://www.canada.com/topics/news/st...c-54bd6d2abc6a

This is another great example why people should wear beacons when big mountain skiing, weather your skiing in bounds or out.

In this avi, snow safety people would have been there within minutes performing a beacon search.

There's been a lot of inbounds avalanches this season. Don't be complacent. If your skiing big mountain terrain educate yourself, take a recreational avalanche course.

The ski patrol and snow safety people do their best to keep the terrain safe, but there are no guarantees. Don't become complacent, your skiing in the mountains not in a plastic bubble.
post #2 of 29
They pulled a body out this afternoon, not identified yet but probably the Australian resort worker they were searching for.
post #3 of 29
Surf's Up released yesterday too. In bounds at Blackcomb, with a 10 foot crown and tons of debris below. Apparently it was also skier triggered, but he/she got out okay. You can find it on the left side of this map if you zoom in...
http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/mou...s/gemstone.htm
post #4 of 29
Yep. i've been beeping with all this recent snow here in CB. Here's a question for you patrolers out there.... is it standard operating procedure to do a beacon sweep when investigating an inbounds avy? Would suck to be skiing alone, be buried and not have anyone tell patrol to look for a beacon.
post #5 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Que View Post
Yep. i've been beeping with all this recent snow here in CB. Here's a question for you patrolers out there.... is it standard operating procedure to do a beacon sweep when investigating an inbounds avy? Would suck to be skiing alone, be buried and not have anyone tell patrol to look for a beacon.
Yes, the first step in any ski area rescue at almost every ski area in the western US is a beacon search over the area. Shortly followed by a certified dog along with a Recco and then usually a series of probe lines.
post #6 of 29
Still a bit new to all this, so forgive the dopiness of my question, but a) I have a trip planned to Vail this year...any chance of avalanche there and b) same question for Vermont skiing (Mount Snow, Okemo, etc)...also what does "in-bounds" mean?
post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by swisstrader View Post
Still a bit new to all this, so forgive the dopiness of my question, but a) I have a trip planned to Vail this year...any chance of avalanche there and b) same question for Vermont skiing (Mount Snow, Okemo, etc)...also what does "in-bounds" mean?

No worries, st - there are no dopey questions when it comes to learning more about snow safety.

The flip answer to your Vail question is that there isn't very much inbounds terrain at Vail that would typically avalanche. The more correct answer, however, is that ANY terrain over about 30 degrees in steepness could avalanche under the right conditions. Slopes between 35 and 45 degrees are considered the most dangerous, however.

So, I believe that there *is* some terrain at Vail that could and would slide under the right combination of conditions, but Vail isn't necessarily a resort where I would worry about it too much.

"Inbounds" generally means inside the established boundaries of the ski resort. Most of our western US ski areas have plainly marked boundaries which are not to be crossed except in certain designated places at some of the resorts. Inbounds areas are controlled for avalanches, OUT-of-bounds areas typically are not unless they threaten adjacent inbounds ski runs.
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post
No worries, st - there are no dopey questions when it comes to learning more about snow safety.

The flip answer to your Vail question is that there isn't very much inbounds terrain at Vail that would typically avalanche. The more correct answer, however, is that ANY terrain over about 30 degrees in steepness could avalanche under the right conditions. Slopes between 35 and 45 degrees are considered the most dangerous, however.

So, I believe that there *is* some terrain at Vail that could and would slide under the right combination of conditions, but Vail isn't necessarily a resort where I would worry about it too much.

"Inbounds" generally means inside the established boundaries of the ski resort. Most of our western US ski areas have plainly marked boundaries which are not to be crossed except in certain designated places at some of the resorts. Inbounds areas are controlled for avalanches, OUT-of-bounds areas typically are not unless they threaten adjacent inbounds ski runs.
No worries at Mount SNow or Okemo.

Bob can prob tell you what would happen if you set the Ortovox to receive in the JH lift line!

With what's happened at the Canyons and elsewhere, if you are going to be skiing anything steep out west bring one.
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by volklskier1 View Post
No worries at Mount SNow or Okemo.

Bob can prob tell you what would happen if you set the Ortovox to receive in the JH lift line!

With what's happened at the Canyons and elsewhere, if you are going to be skiing anything steep out west bring one.

I'm getting one this year. I've seen enough cracks at Snowbird, Alta, and Solitude, to know that an avy inbounds is always a possibility.

Classes are a good idea too. I took a half-day class at Snowbird a few years ago that helped me recognize dangerous conditions later.
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferniefreeheels View Post
This is another great example why people should wear beacons when big mountain skiing, weather your skiing in bounds or out.
I bought my wife a new Killy ski jacket for Christmas. It has a Recco reflector sewn into it.

We mostly ski Whitewater, which is itself a small area, but it has a number of in-bounds runout zones. Control is aggressive, but things can happen anyway. I have some interesting pictures taken last spring.

And then, there's always some rather delicious, but uncontrolled, out-of-bounds terrain. Whitewater is known for its sidecountry.
post #11 of 29
And another death near Lake Louise (backcountry), the fourth since Sunday in Canada. What a season.
post #12 of 29
Here's a question. I'm going to ski Abasin in a few weeks. I've heard stories bout the Montezuma bowl, which is not open as yet. Is this an area where I should consider a beacon?
post #13 of 29
So - is it still a gaper faux pas to wear a beacon while riding lifts?
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
Here's a question. I'm going to ski Abasin in a few weeks. I've heard stories bout the Montezuma bowl, which is not open as yet. Is this an area where I should consider a beacon?
I have not been there in a long while, but years before the lift went in, I was heading up the valley from the "town" of Montezuma and saw a high speed airborne avy roar out of that area.
post #15 of 29
Ummm...Big White isn't what I consider to be a big mountain. The nicknames are Big Flat and Big Whiteout, altho there are some steep areas.

If one wore a beacon inbounds, who'd expect it and carry a receiving unit?

I know that avalanche control is part science and part art, but I trust the ski patrollers and don't worry. Things can happen, but the Canadians will thoroughly investigate and we'll know the facts.

The avi conditions were so bad a short time back here that slopes as flat as 26° slid. Three "experienced" snowboarders died in a slide in back country, and their bodies won't be found until summer. The avalanche forecast was accurately predicting dangerous conditions .
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post
If one wore a beacon inbounds, who'd expect it and carry a receiving unit?

Ummmm... your buddies, the patrol, complete strangers? Wearing a beacon is about as much trouble as carrying an Ipod, and I see thousands of morons with those. Lately I've been carrying a beacon/probe/shovel/avalung every resort day.
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post
I have not been there in a long while, but years before the lift went in, I was heading up the valley from the "town" of Montezuma and saw a high speed airborne avy roar out of that area.
Thanks newfy, as always you have enlightened me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jer View Post
Ummmm... your buddies, the patrol, complete strangers? Wearing a beacon is about as much trouble as carrying an Ipod, and I see thousands of morons with those. Lately I've been carrying a beacon/probe/shovel/avalung every resort day.
Jer, seriously, coming from the small vert I ski, the thought of these things never occurred to me. Now, I'm seriously considering a beacon(at least) before I go west again. Besides the idea that the avalanches have occurred in bounds, you just never know when you will bump into a Bear or Maggot who will encourage you to go beyond your personal limits and do some more aggressive stuff OB.
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jer View Post
Ummmm... your buddies, the patrol, complete strangers? Wearing a beacon is about as much trouble as carrying an Ipod, and I see thousands of morons with those. Lately I've been carrying a beacon/probe/shovel/avalung every resort day.
^^^ What Jer said. I too have been beeping inbounds lately. If I see a slide happen, the first thing I'm going to do is conduct a beacon search, same as anyone else who may be nearby who has a beacon.
post #19 of 29
This topic has piqued my interest. I started a thread in the patrol shack out of curiosity.
I'm getting the idea that this is a practice that is not out of character
post #20 of 29
Will be hitting KH and Panorama the end of the month.......a little worried about this now...the wife is downright afraid!
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyeski View Post
Will be hitting KH and Panorama the end of the month.......a little worried about this now...the wife is downright afraid!
Don't be afraid, be prepared.
post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
Don't be afraid, be prepared.
True...true.
post #23 of 29
I pulled out a table top sized (approx 6'x10') sluff/slab inbounds a few weeks ago. It went about 5-10' and stopped. Steep east facing exposure with "thin" snowpack over unexposed rock band. It spooked me, but in reality it wasn't a safety issue. I made a turn (essentially a ski cut), it released below me ran a few feet and stopped. I pulled up, stopped and watched it.
post #24 of 29
While it is true that the snow pack is bad this year, we have to keep things in perspective. There are 100s of thousands skiers at resorts every day in the mountains, and the probability of serious avalanche injury is very very low. Part of the issue this year is that there have been ten deaths in avalanche related situations (most in back-country or out of bounds) this year which gets huge media attention. This brings the avalanche danger to our attention and is a scary thing. It remains the case, however, that there are many more automobile-related deaths which are not getting the huge media attention. The actual risk of avalanche injury at any ski hill remains very low, and is probably much lower than the drive to the hill for most people. Nonetheless, taking some of the precautions mentioned above, like being aware of where you are skiing and the increased risk on parts of the mountain, and definitely avoiding skiing alone in areas of greater risk, is a smart thing to do.

What strikes me as being interesting this year is that in spite of the media coverage of the increased avalanche dangers, patroller friends at the two local areas (Sunshine and Lake Louise) have told me that out of bounds skiing is rampant this year. My guess is that many more people (who know little about avalanche danger) are getting fat skis and can’s resist the temptation of pristine lines.
post #25 of 29
I ski everyday at Whistler, and generally I wear a beacon. You don't notice wearing it, and you never know when it might save a life, either yours or someone else. As for the slide under Surfs Up, I happened to ski Winkys Pop, the run right beside it, and skied out into the area where the slide occurred about 30 mins before it. slides happen in-bounds, so be prepared.
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by canadianskier View Post
It remains the case, however, that there are many more automobile-related deaths which are not getting the huge media attention. .

I don't doubt that, but many ski areas are very professional at downplaying mishaps at their areas. They really want it to be passed off as media hype, and take steps to make it look that way. They censor employees and let the spin specialists speak.
post #27 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post
I don't doubt that, but many ski areas are very professional at downplaying mishaps at their areas. They really want it to be passed off as media hype, and take steps to make it look that way. They censor employees and let the spin specialists speak.
Come on Newf.... good Ole RCR wouldn't do that. Would they?
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonnie View Post
I pulled out a table top sized (approx 6'x10') sluff/slab inbounds a few weeks ago. It went about 5-10' and stopped. Steep east facing exposure with "thin" snowpack over unexposed rock band. It spooked me, but in reality it wasn't a safety issue. I made a turn (essentially a ski cut), it released below me ran a few feet and stopped. I pulled up, stopped and watched it.
Yep, conditions are pretty hazardous right now. We had a bunch of cracking slab activity yesterday off of the top of the Whale's Tail at Breck yesterday (absolutely incredible skiing -- mid-thigh wind-compressed pow).

That being said, I feel pretty safe skiing inbounds. Ski patrol had obviously bombed the hell out of the area, and if it had slid, it looked to be more of a slough that an actual avi. I don't really see the need for a beacon inbounds at most any resort in the US.

That being said, I do think there are a lot of people heading into the backcountry without a clue of what they are doing. The avalanche danger currently in most of Colorado is considerable, as evidenced both by the number of avalanches and the number of people being killed in them. Frankly, skiing the backcountry scares the hell out of me. I go BC rarely and only with people who know what they are doing, and never without beacons, shovels, and probes.

Right now, it is very dangerous to be in the BC of much of the west. Folk should make sure, if they are headed out of bounds, that they really know the danger, are prepared, and make the proper decisions -- which may also include bagging it and retreating when the conditions dictate.

Mike
post #29 of 29
They just opened the Parachute Bowl on Friday (I skied BW Monday through Thursday).

They had inspected the area that morning and it passed.

A few people have reported seeing a boarder drop 10 -15 feet off of a ridge. When he landed with force, the whole ridge cracked and gave away.
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