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Avi Gear inbounds - Page 2

post #31 of 59
Judging by the what I saw at the airport a couple days ago there are a lot of new beacons that people seemed to want to pull out of there bag so that others could see them before repacking and checking. So they may be the next level of social competition for the well-geared alpine consumer. My prediction is that this will be the case if the economy doesn't get worse, with ABS being the coolest to show friends in your garage when they're over for the BBQ, no doubt. If the economy does keep getting worse people will forget about it and stick with helmets as a way to distinguish themselves.

Slingblade from Life-link is another good low-profile alternative, along with the Ogio RPG pack.

If you can't answer whether you'll be encountering a bc-like snowpack with little skier compaction, in-bounds, or not, then you probably should bone up on that before deciding whether you want to carry gear, or not. Likewise I know a number of people with beacons but can never get social friends to actually practice with them. Maybe I'm a dick, but they'll come over to visit but not bring their beacons. I'm getting a second just to practice by lonesome. Basically if you do want to wearr a beacon inbounds at least know how to use it, know when to switch modes and drill it enough to do this when you're highly adrenalated, etc. If you have no idea when to switch again contemplate whether you need to learn more before thinkingn about getting one. If you don't know the difference between inbounds and sidecountry, same.

The breakdown seems to be primarily dads in the new-beacon category. Strangely a lot of terrain out west accessed by kids routinely is a slidepath or exposed to one. If you're with intermediate or better Sig Other or kids and not buying them all a beacon, too, but getting one fer yourself, you may need to reflect on that too. Even if they are the fashion you can be responsible or irresponsible, ethical or unethical, in the fashion.

Bushwacker right on fat skis but no hard data. Don't listen to anything you read on the internet.
post #32 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan from Pa View Post
A lot of locals and all of the patrol in LCC ski with beacons, and the first things patrol will do if they come on the scene is to start a beacon search, see if there were any witnesses, and call for help. The next wave of patrollers will also bring out a RECCO detector and do a scan. It may take a few more minutes to retrieve the RECCO search gear and get it to the scene, but once there, RECCO is as effective a search tool as a beacon.
This is highly dependent on local protocol.

At Alpine Meadows, every patroller skis with a beacon. The RECCOs, by contrast, are kept in the top shacks -- they're too large to ski with unless you know you need gear, and we don't have enough of them anyway. We practice with beacons regularly, but I'm not aware of any RECCO practice. I haven't practiced with a RECCO receiver, but I don't think they give you the kind of location and distance information that a modern three-antenna digital beacon (Pieps DSP, Orthovox S1, etc.) does. In short, the difference between depending on a beacon and on a RECCO is at very least several minutes, in the best of circumstances.

As for the original question, a beacon will help you be located and will allow you to help locate others. A shovel and probe are useful only for helping rescue others. There's a bit of a moral hazard economics issue here, but that's your call to make.

As for the supposed difficulty of skiing with a shovel and probe, I ski with a Camelbak Menace when not patrolling. The Menace has a 70oz bladder, space for a shovel blade, handle, and probe, enough room for an extra layer, gloves, and lunch, carries skis diagonally, and is only 5" deep. I suppose if you really hate skiing with a pack, the flak jacket is a reasonable option, but I don't find it difficult.
post #33 of 59
Cross-posted from TGR - UU has avvie beacons for rent at REALLY reasonable rates - like under $20. Something to think about

http://web.utah.edu/campusrec/outdoor_rec/rentals.html

Also - I like the idea of a pack with an avalung. You can use it for deep days too when snow is over your head. Don't laugh - happens out there!
post #34 of 59
The slingblade is appealing just because it's so simple.

One gripe I have about all packs is that they cause my back to sweat (I even tried a pack with a ventilated back). Sort of negates the point of having a good breathable shell.
post #35 of 59
For those that would like to have shovel and don't want to carry a pack, you can get a small plastic shovel wiht a hollow t-handle and drill two holes in the blade by the outside corners (some come this way), buy some nylon webbing, run it through the handle and down to the two holes, tie it off and use the straps a shoulder straps. Lots of people do this at Bridger. A lot of people ski with beacons and packs as well, especially with our new Schlashmans lift and boundary policy.

Remember, fat skis still place pressure on the snow pack. While penetration can cause release, which will show up as a release at the point of the ski cut, pressure on weak layers below is what you should be worrying about most.

Don't expect equipment to keep you safe. Understanding snow conditions, snow condition history, how terrain effects risk, and above all sound assessment, judgement, and behavior are what keep you safe.

Now lets be honest, if you and your friends are skiing with beacons but no probe and shovel you a simply wearing a body finding device!!!!

Also there is no point in wearing and carrying this equipment if you don't practice how to use it. Practice in real world situation is important beyond searching in the backyard. It is much harder to locate a beacon when you are on a steep slope in variable conditions. When you can get your search times in real world conditions down to five minutes then you are doing well.

I just did my ridge guide recertification at Bridger yesterday afternoon in real world conditions and it was good thing. As I ran through three times I was able to get down under five minutes, but I needed the practice.

Fat skis (?), avalungs, beacons, reco reflecters, probes and shovels are only backups for knowing when, where, and how to ski in avalanche terrain, even inbounds. And gang, avalnche terrain is anything over 25 degrees. with mid to high thirties, 35-38 dgrees, having the highest incidence of slides.
post #36 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicB View Post
...
Remember, fat skis still place pressure on the snow pack. While penetration can cause release, which will show up as a release at the point of the ski cut, pressure on weak layers below is what you should be worrying about most.

Don't expect equipment to keep you safe. Understanding snow conditions, snow condition history, how terrain effects risk, and above all sound assessment, judgement, and behavior are what keep you safe. ..
Cute doggie may not help you.

http://www.wildsnow.com/1029/myths-o...-fuzzy-burial/

(On the fat skis, inbounds I don't think the fat skis are going to make any difference in risk for the people who stilldon't have them or are not prone to choosing them after a recent snowfall (ie on average what are higher risk days). If you aren't going to be on them in those conditions you're very unlikely to be on less-travelled terrain inbounds anyway so your risk as a practical matter will be zero. But in general aside from allowing "lighter" skiing people also fall much less on them. Falling sort of = human cornice drop roughly = another type of stability testing. Would you rather ski a slope after 3 smooth telemarketers or after 3 natural gas execs on skinny skis who fall a lot?)
post #37 of 59
While it's an interesting mental exercise to wonder if fat skis mitigate (to some extent, anyway) the forces causing a release, I'd think you certainly wouldn't want to rely on that in any way or even factor it into your decision-making.

Just to make a counter-argument about the effect of fat skis on your chances of starting an avalanche, I think it's not completely out of line to suggest that the fat skis MIGHT allow you to get a little further down the hill before the trigger takes effect.

That could be a *bad* thing because if you're really close to the crown you might have a chance to ski out to one side or the other, while being a couple more turns down the hill before it releases could put a whole lot more tons of sliding snow uphill of you.
post #38 of 59
Actually everyone could plunge-step to be supersafe.




... a bad joke, please no one take that seriously.
post #39 of 59
I spend a lot of money on health insurance, but I don't have an actual life insurance policy. I have had & practiced with the basic shovel, probe & beacon for as long as I can remember. I have had an ABS pack since they first came out. After skiing in Alaska last year, I felt like an outcast not having an Avalung. I finally got an Avalung which arrived a couple of days ago. I practiced skiing with it for the first time today. It seems that you would really have to have some focus & your wits about you to keep that thing in your mouth while tumbling in an avalanche, but it could be done. I think ct55 makes a good point about the thing working well in snorkel deep snow. Hopefully, that will be the only time I use it. I use all or some of this equipment frequently. There is a doggie biscuit & Recco reflector in my pocket at all times. The beacon is on anytime there is fresh snow. The shovel & at least probe poles are with me on big powder days, fits nicely in a small Camelback mule with a few ather emergency items. The Avalung will probably be added to the mix as well. The ABS pack is on if I'm in the backcountry, except maybe in stable Spring corn conditions.

It may seem like overkill, but I'm out there everyday. The money I save on life insurance covers it easily.



JF
post #40 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bucki78 View Post
The slide at Snowbird on Sunday has really caught my attention especially since I am going there this weekend. I have never done any OB skiing but I now realize that doesn't mean I am free and clear. I plan on getting a beacon this weekend but what other gear would you guys suggest?
I'd go with Recco system clothing--it's some kind of a built in chip that uses a tracking system to locate you. It's included in a lot of jackets and clothing, so it doesn't require another piece of gear. Snowbird patrol uses it and it actually played a role in the search and rescue of last week's incident. It might prove to be less bulky and expensive (if you need new clothing) than a beacon.

Of course, a beacon is also a good way to go if you don't mind carrying it and have someone else using one with you.
post #41 of 59
Recco is a passive reflector that reflects a signal back to a specific type of transceiver. Most of us consider it a body finder due to the time it would take to deploy. Bacon could work too. Dogs love bacon!

FWIW, my shell and boots have RECCO, but if there is any real exposure, I hope I'm carrying the beacon.
post #42 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post
While it's an interesting mental exercise to wonder if fat skis mitigate (to some extent, anyway) the forces causing a release, I'd think you certainly wouldn't want to rely on that in any way or even factor it into your decision-making.

Just to make a counter-argument about the effect of fat skis on your chances of starting an avalanche, I think it's not completely out of line to suggest that the fat skis MIGHT allow you to get a little further down the hill before the trigger takes effect.

That could be a *bad* thing because if you're really close to the crown you might have a chance to ski out to one side or the other, while being a couple more turns down the hill before it releases could put a whole lot more tons of sliding snow uphill of you.
Bob I think the science is solid behind the idea but the difference is negligible. simple physics would tell us a wider maybe longer ski would be less likely to cut layers down low. How much less likely? I cant tell you. any attempt to try to use an equation to find out would probably be fail with my limited knowledge. the separate layers would each let each different sink into the snow pack at different rates.

I wanted to say the idea is from TR from TGR mostly in colorado where skiers of similar size, skill, and skiing style have been skiing the same run. the fa couple skiers go on something like praxisis and someone goes on like bros or 80-100mm skis and causes the slope to slide. obvisously vague explainnation but i cant find the TRs I have read and its been more than one.

just a note though I am not advoacting anyone to think they are 'safe' becuase they have a fatter ski on thier feet.
post #43 of 59
So...to build on this thread and cut through all the noise....what should I do IMMEDIATELY to ensure I am exercising good judgment and decision making in terms of where I ski (inbounds). Do I take a class? Apprentice with people who know tons about snow conditions (I admit to knowing what I don't know)....how can I become smarter ASAP to ensure I make smart decisions about where and and what I ski. Please advise. I need good solid advice and I'm ready to listen.

Thx
post #44 of 59
locknload, the best resource you have is knowledge, and the fastest way to get it is to read the basic reference Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain by Bruce Tremper. I don't know where you ski, but if its in the Western U.S. there is likely an avalanche forecasting and reporting organization that your should bookmark and read often. This is the Sierra Avalanche Center, which I read often. there are very good reporting centers in Colorado and Utah.

Inbounds avalanches are very rare, but we hear of them practically every year. Its kind of like a shark attack in that it really sucks to be the victim, but that doesn't mean its practical to stay out of the ocean all your life. Know where and when they are a risk, and you can improve your chances considerably. If you ski out of bounds, you will need to increase knowledge by taking a course and working with others that have more experience.

Here are some more:



US Avalanche Forecast Centers
(Alphabetical—information compiled by Mark Moore, NWAC; latest revision January 10, 2006)

Alaska Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center Forecast area: Turnagin Arm area south of Anchorage Web home page http://www.fs.fed.us/r10/chugach/glacier/snow.htm (Wed-Sun advisories for Turnagin Arm area) (907) 754-2369 or (907)-783-3242 or mailto:cskustad@fs.fed.us Southeast Alaska Avalanche Center Forecast area: southeast Alaska from Ketchikan to Yakutat (currently only listing field observations; funding insufficient for daily or other avalanche advisories) Web home page http://www.avalanche.org/~seaac (no advisories currently) (907) 5886-5699 or mailto:saac@gci.net

California Mt Shasta Avalanche Center Forecast area: Mt Shasta area; Includes parts of Trinity, Siskiyou and Shasta counties Web home page: http://www.shastaavalanche.org/ (daily advisories) Forecast recordings: (530)-926-9613; Tel (530)-926-4511 Sierra Avalanche Center Forecast area: Central Sierra Nevada Mountains between Yuba Pass in the north and Sonora Pass in the south; Includes portions of Calaveras, Alpine, El Doroado, Placer, Washoe, Nevada, and Sierra counties Web home page: http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/tahoe/currentconditions/avalanche/ (daily advisories) (530)-587-3558 or mailto:rhmoore@fs.fed.us Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center Non-profit avalanche center working with the Forest Service to provide avalanche information for the eastern Sierra-Nevada Mountains Forecast area: east slopes of the Sierras from the crest eastward to Hwy 395, and from Big Pine Creek in the south to Sonora Pass in the north Web home page: http://www.esavalanche.org/ (intermittent advisories) (760) 924-5510;Email: mailto:Office@esavalanche.org

Colorado Colorado Avalanche Information Center Forecast area: North, central and southern Colorado Rockies; Forecast area includes part of the following counties: Larimer, Boulder, Denver, Douglas, Teller, Fremont, Custer, Alamosa, Conejos, Rio Grande, Archuleta, Mineral, Hinsdale, San Juan, La Plata, Montezuma, Dolores, San Miguel, Ouray, Montrose, Gunnison, Chaffee, Park, Lake, Pitkin, Mesa, Eagle, Summit, Clear Creek, Gilpin, Grand, Garfield, Routt, and Jackson Northern mountains include the Front Range, Medicine Bow Mtns. (Rawahs), Indian Peaks, Park Range, Gore Range, Ten Mile Range, Flat Tops; Central mountains include the Mosquito Range, Sawatch Range (Collegiate Range), Elk Mountains, West Elk Mountains, Grand Mesa, Pikes Peak; Southern mountains include the San Miguel Mountains, San Juan Mountains, Sangre de Cristo Mountains Web home page: http://www.geosurvey.state.co.us/avalanche/(daily forecasts) Forecast recordings: 303-275-5360 (Denver/Boulder statewide forecasts), 970-482-0457 (Ft Collins—northern mountains), 719-520-0020 (Colorado Springs—statewide),970-668-0600 (Summit County and surrounding areas), 719-395-4994 (Buena Vista—central mountains), 970-247-8187 (Durango—southern mountains), 970-920-1664 (Aspen, local), 970-349-4022 (Crested Butte, local) 303.499.9650; email: mailto:caic@qwest.net [FONT='serif','Courier New',serif]o[/font] Roaring Fork Avalanche Center Non-profit center working with both the Forest Service and Colorado Avalanche Information Center to provide avalanche information to the public for the local Aspen area Forecast area: local Aspen area; primarily Pitkin county and the Roaring Fork Valley Web home page: www.rfavalanche.org

Idaho Idaho Panhandle National Forest Avalanche Center Forecast area: Cabinet, Selkirk, St. Joe, Purcell, Coeur d'Alene, and Bitterroot mountain ranges of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest; Includes portions of Clearwater, Shoshone, Boundary, Bonner and Kootenai counties Web home page: http://www.fs.fed.us/ipnf/visit/conditions/backcountry/index.html (208)-765-7323 (regional weekend avalanche advisory); mailto:rkasun@fs.fed.us Payette Avalanche Center Forecast area: west central mountains of Idaho (Payette National Forest); Includes parts of Valley, Adams and Idaho counties (NWS zones IDZ006 and IDZ011) Web home page http://www.payette-avalanche.org/pages/1/ (weekly advisories) (208)634-0409; mailto:Friends@Payette-Avalanche.org Sawtooth National Forest Avalanche Center Forecast area: Sun Valley area and mountains surrounding Wood River Valley, Sawtooth National Forest; Blaine county Web home page http://www.avalanche.org/~svavctr/ (daily advisories) (208)-622-8027 (daily avalanche advisories) mailto:snfac@sunvalley.net

Montana Glacier Country Avalanche Center Forecast area: Glacier National Park and Flathead and Kootenai National Forests; Flathead, Lake and Lincoln Counties Web home page: http://www.glacieravalanche.org/ (weekend advisories) 406-257-8402 (advisories); email: mailto:info@glacieravalanche.org West Central Montana Avalanche Center Forecast area: Bitterroot Clearwater and Lolo National Forests from Lookout Pass south to Lolo Pass and on south to Lost Trail Pass and the Rattlesnake Mountains north of Missoula Web home page: http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/lolo/avalanche/advisory.htm (weekend advisories) 1-800-281-1030 (weekend avalanche advisory); email: mailto:skarkanen@fs.fed.us Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center Forecast area:Bridger, Gallatin, Madison, and Washburn Ranges, the Lionhead area near West Yellowstone, and the mountains around Cooke City Home page: http://www.mtavalanche.com/ (daily advisories) Email: mailto:r1_gallatin_gnfac@fs.fed.us

New Hampshire Mt Washington Avalanche Center Forecast area: Mt Washington, specifically Tuckerman and Huntington Ravines in the Cutler River Drainage, SE shoulder of Mt Washington (White Mountain National Forest) Home page: http://www.tuckerman.org/index.htm (daily advisories)

Utah Utah Avalanche Center, Salt Lake City Wasatch Mountains, Western Uinta Mountains; includes portions of Morgan Summit, Daggett, Duchesne, Unitah, Wasatch, Salt Lake counties Web home page: http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/ (daily advisories) Recorded Advisories: (801) 364-1581 Salt Lake; (801) 364-1591 Salt Lake 6am detailed; (801) 742-0830 Little Cottonwood Canyon; (435) 658-5512 Park City;(801) 422-4333 Provo; mailto:uac@avalanche.org Utah Avalanche Center, Logan Odgen Mountains (Wasatch Range); Includes portions of Cache, Rich, Weber counties Web home page: http://www.avalanche.org/%7Euac/BRAIC/ (daily advisories) (801) 626-8600 Ogden; email: cweed@fs.fed.us Manti-La Sal Avalanche Center (part of Utah Avalanche Center) La Sal Mountains, Manti-La Sal National Forest (daily advisories); Includes portions of Grand and San Juan counties Wasatch Plateau/Manti Skyline Drive Region (weekend only advisories); includes portions of Utah, Carbon, Sanpete, Emery and Sevier counties Web home page: http://www.avalanche.org/~lsafc La Sal Mtns: (435)-259-SNOW; Manti Skyline: 800-648-7433; email: mailto:mforgensi@fs.fed.us

Washington and Oregon Northwest Weather & Avalanche Center Forecast area: Washington Cascades and Olympic Mountains, northern Oregon Cascades (Mt Hood area); parts of Skagit, Whatcom, Snohomish, King, Pierce, Clallam, Jefferson, Lewis, Cowlitz, Clark, Skamania, Klickitat, Yakima, Kittitas, Chelan and Okanogan counties in Washington and parts of Multnomah, Hood River and Clackamas counties in Oregon; NWS forecast zones--Washington WAZ012-017-018-019-025-042 and Oregon ORZ011 Web home page: www.nwac.us (twice daily weather forecasts and avalanche advisories; hourly mountain weather data) 206-526-6677 & 503-326-2400 (recorded forecasts) Email: mailto:nwac.sew@noaa.gov

Wyoming Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center Forecast areas: Teton Mountain (parts of Teton County, WY and Teton County, Id); Grey Mountains and Southwest Trails (north part of Lincoln County and west part of Sublette County); Togwotee Mountains and Continental Divide trails (east part of Teton county, WY and northwest part of Fremont county, WY) Home page: http://www.jhavalanche.org/ (daily advisories) 307-733-2664 or (307) 739-5500; email: mailto:r4_b-t_info@fs.fed.us
post #45 of 59
Cirque, I am planning to read that book and will be taking avy 1 in January. My question as pertains to inbounds skiing is... even if I read a book and take a class, how does that help me avoid trouble inbounds? I assume that when patrol opens a slope they are certifying that it is safe to whatever standard they have (isn't that correct?) If so, am I supposed to make a call better than the guys who have patroled and done control on that hill for years and years? Shouldn't I still just trust their judgement that a slope is or is not safe since they are the experts?
post #46 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post
The Avalung will probably be added to the mix as well. The ABS pack is on if I'm in the backcountry, except maybe in stable Spring corn conditions.
I don't mean to be picky but this could give the absolute wrong impression. Some of the most unstable conditions exists in the spring with spring/corn snow. The thaw/re-freeze cycle causes massive instability. This is to the extent that you really should know direction slopes face understanding that the slope is most stable prior to the sun hitting it (ie. east gets sun in the morning, south, then west...etc.) In addition to this, if a wet slope slides, the mass behind it is greater and it is much more difficult to extricate one of your companions. I am concerned at how widely the opinions vary. Please don't take what I say as gospel, I have experience but am not an expert. I have been fortunate enough to have spent some time with experts (forecasters) in conjunction with taking my Avi courses. That said, as others have said before, the best advice you can get here is to actually take a course there is no substitute.

Bushwacker......I have enjoyed your posts and truly think your posts are accurate and knowledge based. I think the fat ski idea is tough to swallow. The bottom line is if the difference between releasing a slab or not is the width of your skis, most likely you should not be where you are. The rules will continue to apply in challenging or complex terrain....convexities etc. You need to know what you are doing out there and not think that the fatter the board, the safer you are. I know that this is not what you were getting at and there are some logical physics to your previous posts. I just want to ensure that the info. is not misconstrued.

Be safe everyone.....
post #47 of 59
I don't think the question is whether reading a book gives you the ability to second-guess the patrol, but to give you an awareness of the conditions that can be unsafe. Even if patrol sets off slides, conditions can change through the day with wind, temperature changes, snow or rain. Knowing why snow moves, where it is likely to move, recognizing terrain traps and understanding how convex or concave slope architecture works with slabs just gives you a chance to anticipate problems in the terrain you ski, and hazards from above. It makes the day even more interesting.

Very few of us ski where large scale movement is routinely a risk, but even skiing inbouds in the spring, I have encountered major runnels, glide cracks, sloughs and roller balls. The patrol does not certify a slope safe, they mitigate the risks in zones with a history of instability. I can't speak on behalf of patrol, but they ski cut, bomb and test slopes. If they actually waited until there was zero risk of slides and sloughs, we would never ski pow or steep terrain. Here is the question, on a deep pow day do you stand below the line where your friends are skiing, or move to a safer zone? Are you so sure the slope is stable because its open, you don't take reasonable precautions. Do you hang out under a cornice? Stand in the runout of a chute? I have slid a number of times on open slopes at places like Alta, Snowbird and Kirkwood. Small scale stuff, but any time you venture off the main trails at these big areas with steep terrain, you are potentially exposed to conditions similar to backcountry.

Anyway, the question by locknload was a good one. How can I immediately get to where I make good decisions. I think learning choices exist, and some can cut your exposure to risks, is a good start, and if his interest expands to side and back country, he will know where to go for more knowledge. As near as I can tell, even the experts are continuing to learn. Personally I've barely scratched the surface.
post #48 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post
Cirque, I am planning to read that book and will be taking avy 1 in January. My question as pertains to inbounds skiing is... even if I read a book and take a class, how does that help me avoid trouble inbounds? I assume that when patrol opens a slope they are certifying that it is safe to whatever standard they have (isn't that correct?) If so, am I supposed to make a call better than the guys who have patroled and done control on that hill for years and years? Shouldn't I still just trust their judgement that a slope is or is not safe since they are the experts?
Good point...and remember that point if you ever duck a rope to ski an roped off section inbounds.

The reality is you can't make decisions without years of experience. Even if you take the courses (ie Avi 1) you are not qualified to make decisions past anything other than simple or challenging terrain (in low risk conditions). Avalanches will happen after a slope is cleared. I once took a course and it showed a face that slid. I found it looked familiar. It was a face at Kicking Horse BC prior to having lift access. One of the most popular areas was once prime avalance terrain and it still tends to slide late year after the hill closes. The chances of an inbound slide is rare but it will happen. There have been a number of people killed in North Americal killed in bounds over the last couple of years. This is not because the forecasters aren't skilled, they really are. You have to realize that although forecasting is a science, it is not an exact science. If you have the gear, and don't mind wearing it you may save your life or someone else's. Just my 2 cents.
post #49 of 59
Locnload,

You can ask do you ski "hike-to" inbounds terrain, or other nooks and crannies of a resort that get little skier traffic? Particularly just after it's been opened? Or immediately after re-opening during or following a storm cycle?

If yes, as noted you could be a bit more cautious in terms of behavior and travel protocol, wearing a beacon, etc., on those days, in that terrain. If not the shark attack analogy is very apt inbounds (this assumes that you understand the distinction between inbounds and sidecountry which many do not). Part of social learning is that we can learn to be very afraid of things like sharks but be very unconcerned with the risks we face in, say, driving to the resort on snowy days; and prone to placing more faith in the ability of the rental sport ute to keep us safe as opposed to decent driving.

Some of these posts are getting a bit out-there, as usual. Aside from the referenced texts and links for actual snow science (which are great, but inbounds other than understanding how snow loads and gets stressed by things like temperature changes maybe more than you need at a resort) googling would probably find some relevant discussion elsewhere with better signal to noise ratios.
post #50 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
I don't think the question is whether reading a book gives you the ability to second-guess the patrol, but to give you an awareness of the conditions that can be unsafe. Even if patrol sets off slides, conditions can change through the day with wind, temperature changes, snow or rain. Knowing why snow moves, where it is likely to move, recognizing terrain traps and understanding how convex or concave slope architecture works with slabs just gives you a chance to anticipate problems in the terrain you ski, and hazards from above. It makes the day even more interesting.

Very few of us ski where large scale movement is routinely a risk, but even skiing inbouds in the spring, I have encountered major runnels, glide cracks, sloughs and roller balls. The patrol does not certify a slope safe, they mitigate the risks in zones with a history of instability. I can't speak on behalf of patrol, but they ski cut, bomb and test slopes. If they actually waited until there was zero risk of slides and sloughs, we would never ski pow or steep terrain. Here is the question, on a deep pow day do you stand below the line where your friends are skiing, or move to a safer zone? Are you so sure the slope is stable because its open, you don't take reasonable precautions. Do you hang out under a cornice? Stand in the runout of a chute? I have slid a number of times on open slopes at places like Alta, Snowbird and Kirkwood. Small scale stuff, but any time you venture off the main trails at these big areas with steep terrain, you are potentially exposed to conditions similar to backcountry.

Anyway, the question by locknload was a good one. How can I immediately get to where I make good decisions. I think learning choices exist, and some can cut your exposure to risks, is a good start, and if his interest expands to side and back country, he will know where to go for more knowledge. As near as I can tell, even the experts are continuing to learn. Personally I've barely scratched the surface.
The "Experts" do a really good job of snow control at most resorts. Here in JH I really believe that our patrol is world class and they do an increadable job controlling a large and complex mountain. Where the trouble can begin is in small pockets that might be unussually loaded on a given day, or when there is continued snow fall and WIND that continue to load slopes long after control work has been done. I have skied in storms that were filling in our tracks in between runs. It is usefull to recognize these conditions and use some safe travel protocols, even though the odds are that you are "safe". There is always the temptation to go through a gate and then it is really good to have the gear on you ready to go and not in the car or the locker.
post #51 of 59
I have a big time GAPER question since I'm an admitted POW gaper. I haven't skied any real POW in over 10 years. What exactly is the purpose of the sticks and branches that folks bundle and have attached to their packs when skiing back country? Is that so there is something sticking up higher than their head should they get buried?
post #52 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post
...Where the trouble can begin is in small pockets that might be unussually loaded on a given day, or when there is continued snow fall and WIND that continue to load slopes long after control work has been done...
Some of the gullies and steep rollovers that can be the most fun in particular, most good mountains have some of these...


Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post
... There is always the temptation to go through a gate and then it is really good to have the gear on you ready to go and not in the car or the locker.
Even for easy sidecountry at "Mallville Junction." (That also means don't think the "gear" makes you safe if it's frozen coral reef, etc.)
post #53 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dumb Swede View Post
I don't mean to be picky but this could give the absolute wrong impression. Some of the most unstable conditions exists in the spring with spring/corn snow. The thaw/re-freeze cycle causes massive instability.
Be safe everyone.....
You are absolutely right D-Swede. Wet slides can be devastating, especially glide slides from perculation under the snowpack. I was thinking of my own experiences & I always get an early start after a solid freeze in the Spring. I am off the slope by the time the snow is getting wet enough to slide. The reason I may leave the ABS pack behind is that I am trying to go light & fast, a weighed risk. There is always risk!

Thanks for keeping things straight,

JF

As for BWPA's fat ski theory. During an Avi refresher course I took in 2001 our instructor who had a PHD in snow science, talked about the exact same thing. Although there was no actual stats to back it up, they were saying that snowboards & fat skis had less chance of releasing a slide.
JF
post #54 of 59
I almost always have my beacon on and I leave my pack at the top. I just never know when we will decide to go BC and it's just better to be ready. Big days I wear my Avi lung inbounds because I can't think of any reason not too.


Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
What exactly is the purpose of the sticks and branches that folks bundle and have attached to their packs when skiing back country? Is that so there is something sticking up higher than their head should they get buried?
They are tell tales that the heli guide places around an LZ so that the pilot knows which direction the wind is coming from. They usually have a short piece of survey tape attached to the top.
post #55 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post

Inbounds avalanches are very rare, but we hear of them practically every year. Its kind of like a shark attack in that it really sucks to be the victim, but that doesn't mean its practical to stay out of the ocean all your life. Know where and when they are a risk, and you can improve your chances considerably. If you ski out of bounds, you will need to increase knowledge by taking a course and working with others that have more experience.
I like that analogy. Interesting original question. I consider inbounds avies to be an extremely minor risk. Way less than rocks, trees, or out of control boarders. Still, if you have the beacon, why not wear it?

I'm getting a BCA Tracker for Christmas (I know 'cause I bought it myself), and plan on having it with me, forevermore. However, as others have pointed out, getting on a chairlift with a backpack can be an annoyance. When I patrolled 10 years ago, I absolutely hated the way my fannypack would push me out to the edge of the chair. I expect a backpack will be similar (I'm planning on acquiring a Backcountry Access Stash Pack soon), especially with a shovel in it. Nor am I too keen to find out how a crash feels with an aluminum shovel digging into my back. So I expect in the future there may be a tradeoff between comfort and safety when I'm gearing up in the parking lot. Maybe gear-free at a Mom'n'Pop like White Pine or Beaver, and fully equipped at JH or Snowbird.
post #56 of 59
Thanks Cirquerider, CTKook and others. I appreciate the links and feedback on how to begin getting smart and thinking about risk mitigation. I definitely do hike to inbounds terrain that is re-opened after storms and prefer steeper resorts like snowbird and alta. This give me good pause to think a out my overall education level (and lack thereof) and sobers me very quickly. I don't think I take any unreasonable chances and I am very respectful of the boundaries the patrolers maintain...both for their safety and my own. I will review these links and self-educate as well as seek out some formal and informal education from those who know more than me. I am based out of Park City in the winter and ski exclusively in UT.

Thanks again and ski safe everyone....coming home alive should be the number one goal of every ski day.

Cheers,
post #57 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post
Snowbird patrol uses it and it actually played a role in the search and rescue of last week's incident.
You are aware that she died, aren't you?

IMO - RECCO takes too long. It's better than nothing, but as others have said - it's primarily a body locator.
post #58 of 59
Just to reiterate - it's also ridiculously easy to get to OB skiing with avvie danger - the 9990 peak hike (Dutch Draw I think it's called) at the Canyons is a good example.

Everyone seems to do it. And a few years ago some folks got buried for quite a while - huge slide over there. It really looks like it should be part of the resort - dunno why they decided not to control the area.
post #59 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
That is a nice compact unit, not cheap at $124 but wouldn't push you so far forward in a chair, and some nice camera pocket potential. I don't see it as any more difficult to deal with for beacon access than any other pack with chest and waist strap.




just a quick review on the Ogio Flak Jacket pictured above....

Wore mine for the first time yesterday at Kirkwood. In-bounds was all tracked out and hammered and yesterday was the first day after a small snowfall a day or so prior that they were to open the boundary gates so I decided to give the Flak jacket it's first use.

In short...it's pretty damn good. Easily and logically stores your shovel and probe and when you're sitting on the lift it doesn't push you forward like a normal pack. I even stuffed my skins into the the two pockets on either side of the shovel in the rear (they fit easily) and still wasn't getting pushed forward (ok, maybe just slightly.

When skiing, I didn't notice the "pack" at all as the weight is more evenly distributed. Big thumbs up for that there.

The front pockets on the version that I have are slightly different than what is pictured above. I think the one in the picture is last year's version. This year's version has some bigger pockets in front that are perfect for mp3 player, phone, or camera. And there are two large pockets down low in front that can hold food or you can stuff your gloves into them (or goggles) if it becomes too hot while skinning back up for another lap.

Perfect pack for lift-accessed sidecountry.

I have yet to test out the diagonal ski carry system as I didn't boot up anything (just skinned), but it seems pretty bomber and I have a feeling that it will distribute the weight of skis on your back more comfortably than a regular daypack.

One drawback of course is the lack of storage capacity. I.e. if you wanted to bring a full lunch with you of if you needed to shed a a layer. And one thing to note is that you could probably go without an extra layer, as this thing sort of acts like an extra layer in and of itself.

If I was doing a dedicated day in the BC without the use of lifts then I would probably opt for my normal BC daypack. But for lift-accessed touring/sidecountry from the resort; the Flak jacket is money.

Overall I am 100% stoked on the Flak Jacket.
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