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Alta Avalanche

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
post #2 of 25
Amazing how the first inclination is to run to the window and look out when a better choice might to be duck to avoid any possible flying glass.
post #3 of 25
"40 inches of new snow Thursday morning at Alta"


Altaskier...getting your fix?

Good to read noone was hurt.
post #4 of 25
I saw some show a few months ago on some channel about some ski area lodge that got destroyed by an avalanche. The head avalanche guy was killed and a woman spent several days under toppled lockers.

And yes, it is amazing that the urge to view did not get people killed by flying glass or a wall of snow blasting into the lodge. Lucky those cars were not full of people either.
post #5 of 25
I remember pictures in the Salt Lake paper several years ago of a VW that got blasted through a wall of the Peruvian lodge into one of the rooms.

Oh to wake up to the cannon serenade....
post #6 of 25
People; I posted this in resorts and travel; but here it is again..
I heard on the news this morning that the Alta Lodge was hit by an avalanche. This is bad news 'cause the Deep Powder House, one of the two competant Raichle dealers in Utah, is right above Alta Lodge. I called the DPH this morning to see if my bootfitter was all right and they told me that the news got it wrong.. It was the PERUVIAN lodge that got hit. Hell, that 'aint news, the Peruvian gets hit all the time. The North wing takes the brunt and protects the bar. :
post #7 of 25
My daughter works at the peruvian. She reported that everyone is fine, but some cars were damaged, several being thrown considerable distances. Because this was a planned control event, everyone was evacuated from the vulnerable parts of the building before the avalanche. She also said that the skiing was absolutely epic yesterday. [img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #8 of 25
Stan; Welcome to epic. I'm glad your daughter and everyone else is o.k. I was kidding around, but it's serious business. The last time the Peruvian was hit, I was in it. Everyone was interlodged all night, none of the day skiers could go home, and we got out about 4;00 pm the next day. I scored the last bunk in the men's dorm, others slept in the halls. The Peruvian passed out pillows, blankets and fed all the stranded skiers. And it has the best bar in Little Cottonwood. It's wierd to finally get outside and see big suv's tossed around like toys.
post #9 of 25
Stan,I'm glad that your Daughter and everyone else at Alta is ok.The last report I heard was that Alta recieved about 60 inches of snow in about 30 hours.On The Park City Side we got about 40 inches.Thats still a ton of powder in a vary short time.
I can always tell when The Cottenwood Canyons are closed for Avalanche control. All The Skiers head up Parleys Canyon to ski The Park City side of the Wasatch.The snow pack is still vary unstable and They have been doing a lot of Avalache control in both Littel and Big Cottenwood Canyons.For the past few mornings my wake up call has been the sound of Avalanche bombs going off.Nothing like a cup of strong coffee and a loud BOOM! to start your day off right.
post #10 of 25
The last several years we stayed up on the mountain (above cecret chair) and with out fail, there are mandatory "stay in" mornings at least one or 2 days each week we are there. I believe they call it "interlodge" in which you are to stay in doors and away from windows etc.. It's usually from 6:00-8:00. I think one year the interlodge was in place until 9:00 just before the lifts opened..

Glad everyone was ok and that you all had an epic day of skiing.
post #11 of 25
On the news today, a second avalanche in Big cotton wood canyon. Took the lives of 2 teens, Boarding out of bounds.. aged 18 and 19.

Be careful and respect the mountain..
post #12 of 25
The way interlodge works is that no one can go outside at all until the snowpack stabilizes. That can go all day. The time I described was in 97 (I think.. it was the year the Packers went all the way). It had actually rained up at Alta in January.. then snowed six or seven feet that week. That Saturday, it snowed all day and really got heavy that afternoon.It was an epic powder day, of course, but things started avalanching all over. Mount Surperior slid and the road shut down. Hellgate's garage got blown away. Alta and Snowbird interlodged everyone, guests and day skiers, and no one could leave the buildings. I managed to get a bunk at the Peruvian; best place to get stranded. The nonguests stuck at the Cliff Lodge and Goldminer's Daughter had a miserable night sleeping in halways in their skiboots and clothes. We tried to get out that night.. I was in the bar at the Peruvian when patrol told us to get to our cars and get out at 9:00 pm using the bypass road. I dug out my Subaru in the dark and joined the line crawling down the canyon until a patroller ran up the line yelling "beach the cars! get inside now!".. luckily I was close to the Peruvian and got in. An avalanche had come down in the dark and taken out four cars. One hit the lodge too, but I'm not clear as to when. Anyway, we got our asses inside fast and were stuck there untill 4 the next afternoon. People pulled the liners out of their boots for slippers and made do. Peruvian fed everyone, guests and the stranded alike, passed out pillows and blankets and took care of everyone. Next day we all watched the Packer game on the bigscreen in the common room. It was a pajama party. Meanwhile, down the hill at Snowbird, they opened the hill .. but only to the people there as the canyon road stayed closed all day. Alta was too dangerous to open. No one was killed, although there were some injuries in the cars that were hit; the most serious occuring when someone got out of their vehicle and then got pinned between two cars when one came down. I heard that Patrol* had everyone dug out instantly.

The snowpack is out of control now.. reports today of a backcountry party getting hit and two deaths. It's very sad and it happens every winter around here.

* actually, it was some combination of Sheriff's dept. and patrollers.. everybody official pitched in.. the rest of us stayed in our lodges or cars and followed directions(except the one guy.) I spoke to a patroller after and he said the cars were lightly buried or rolled and that it was fairly easy to liberate the occupants.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 17, 2002 05:29 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Rubob ]</font>
post #13 of 25
dchan, That is vary sad. but they have been warning everyone to stay out of the backcountry!The Avalanche danger is vary high right now. From my back door I can look out over the ridge lines and see at least 5 or six slides.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 16, 2002 08:17 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Utah49 ]</font>
post #14 of 25
post #15 of 25
post #16 of 25
Its ironic that we all hope for deep powder like Utah has gotten over the past week and then we almost get to much. I was up at Alta on Saturday, and drove through where a slide came off Superior and covered the road pretty deep. The snow is super deep right now and unreal skiing can be had. Some of the runs at Alta that are normally rock lined tight areas are looking like wide open bowls.

I feel very bad for the family and friends of the two young people that were killed this past few days in Big Cottonwood. I think we all need to look at this as a warning and not venture out-of-bounds without proper equipment and knowledge. Experienced skiers at Alta wear beacons and carry backcountry gear when skiing lifts on deep pow days, in bounds.

Unfortuniatly, I have been very ill the past few weeks, and including that with business trips, have only skied one day in the past month. Saturday was great up there, with skied crud and some freshies to be had if you looked, pretty deep stuff. Sunday I was to sick to get out of bed to head up the hill, and there was 1/2 a foot in my driveway.

I to have been stuck at Alta for a few hours due to heavy snow shutting down the roads. Never overnight, but many hours. Last year I carried a sleeping bag and some extra clothes in my car just in case.
post #17 of 25
Hey Alta; sorry you've been sick. Thought that you ran off with Suger Snack. I'm back at work after bagging freshies this a.m. at the Castle; there were a lot of people up there for a change; spring break. They were filming some kind of huckfest off a 100ft cliff above one of the castle runouts. [img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #18 of 25
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Rubob:
Thought that you ran off with Sugar Snack.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

No, HE didn't.

post #19 of 25
So who pays for the damage to your vehicle when it's tossed around by a control slide? I would think that your insurance company would be hesitant to pay for damage from the "deliberate" actions of the patrol, yet I doubt Alta can afford to pay for repairs, seeing as this sort of thing seems to happen every year or two.m Is the owner left responsible since they parked in such an obviously dangerous spot?
post #20 of 25
Yeah...and why didn't Alta make everyone move their cars, or not let them park there in the first place? I guess they underestimated the slide?
post #21 of 25
I believe that a Mr. Robert Sykes of St. Lake City would be happy to represent any owners of automobiles damaged by Alta avalanche control activities (preferably owners of expensive German sheet metal with California tags). Such a lawsuit might have some conceivable merit, unlike his current lawsuit against Deer Valley. Just a thought.
post #22 of 25
The road up to Alta and Snowbird is the Most Avalanche prone road year around Hwy in The U.S. Yet they have had only one death on that road,way back in 1951 due to an Avalanche.The Parking Lots at both Alta and Snowbird get hit a lot.But injury and or death inbounds are vary vary rare if any.The Snow safty People working up in The Cottenwood Canyons are some of the best in the Nation.In fact much of what we know of snow safty was developed At Alta back in the 1930's and 40's.Altaskier your smart to carry some extra gear just in case you get stuck for a night.I think The Insurance companies here in Utah are Use to hearing about cars being damaged by a slide while parked at Alta. Hope your feeling better Altaskier.
The last few days sure Have been fun.
post #23 of 25
I believe that the slide that hit the Peruvian was caused by control work done for UDOT to protect the Alta access road, not work done by the Alta patrol. The biggest slide risk to the road and to the lodges at Alta is from the south side, from Mt. Superior across from Snowbird and Alta. It is a lot harder to bring a claim against the state government. The parking restrictions on the Alta access road are quite stringent. Most places ban overnight parking. Also, the lodges strongly encourage guests not to bring cars. I know that the Peruvian also discourages employee parking. There is very little overnight parking available up at Alta, at all.
Wish I was there now... The conditions sound wonderful!
post #24 of 25
This was the best skiing of my life.

Skied Solitude last Thursday, then met friends at Park City for two days of skiing over there (Deer Valley too), then back to Solitude last Sunday. Waist of time over there in Park City, conditions wise. It was a tough trade-off: ski the deep pow of the Cottonwood Canyons alone or ski with friends.

Tried to get to Alta twice, but could not get there due to avalanche and full commuter lots. Driver received call in Alta shuttle after slide hit Peruvian. Turned around and had him drop me at the commuter lot in Big Cottonwood.

I have never skied powder up to my thighs before, and that was what I got both days at Solitude. Had lifetime, untracked runs in Honeycomb Canyon. Just floating in slow motion down the steeps, a continuous face shot, the sweet Utah pow parting like the Red Sea. Almost augered in many times, but got may balance by the fourth day.

Met Eric on Summit lift, head of avalanche control at Solitude. He recommends carrying a beacon in Honeycomb, but I ignored him and went in anyways.

What can I say? It was the best freaking skiing I have ever done and I will always remember it.

post #25 of 25
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by kb1dqh:
Yeah...and why didn't Alta make everyone move their cars, or not let them park there in the first place? I guess they underestimated the slide?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I'm not sure what to think about this one. I am also not sure who triggered the slide, but Alta is a small resort, which charges little in comparison to other resorts for lift tickets. I would hope that insurance companies would cover the damage due to it being an "act of nature", even if it was triggered intentionally. If it had been left alone, imagine the damage that it would have caused when it did slide.

I cannot remember skiing at Alta or Snowbird on a pow day with good visibility and not seeing traces of avalanches in the surrounding mountains. Another reason why I thank ski patrolers everytime that I see them.
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