After my kid learned of our recent loss at Squaw, he confided to me that he had nearly been killed by a slide off Slot last year. He was traversing deep new snow when it ripped out above and below him. It knocked him down and pushed him on his chest, his back bent with skis coming over his head, like body surfing, but very scary if your back should bend too far or your head should be submerged. the slide came to a stop up against a line of trees and kept piling up there until it was 6 ft deep, way deep enough to kill him. a really horrible fall. why? we were skiing together, but he wanted to enter the chute with a littlle air and I wanted to ski in the "normal" way, so we parted ways and lost touch with each other. Had that slide pinned him to the trees, he would have been on his own, and it would have been a terrible mortal battle for him. We have resolved not to break up over line preference, ever again on powder days, but what else can a parent say to their kid? And mostly, we don't ski together anymore, so he has to work it out with his friends. It's not the big avalanche I fear for them, it's those pocket slides, large sluffs, omnipresent on deep days in Tahoe.
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12/30/08 at 6:40pm