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Avalanche Transceivers / Thunder Bowl

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I'm going to be at Alta/Snowbird this winter. I want to hit Thunder Bowl. I've heard you need an avalanche transceiver in order to gain access.  
 
I guess I’ve got two questions. 
 
1)      Has anyone skied Thunder Bowl – Is it worth the cost of a transceiver (+ $300)
2)      What’s the value transceiver? Where to purchase?
post #2 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by kermit88 View Post

I'm going to be at Alta/Snowbird this winter. I want to hit Thunder Bowl. I've heard you need an avalanche transceiver in order to gain access.  
 
I guess I’ve got two questions. 
 
1)      Has anyone skied Thunder Bowl – Is it worth the cost of a transceiver (+ $300)
2)      What’s the value transceiver? Where to purchase?

thunderbowl is a inbounds area at snowbird, its patroled and bombed by snowbird ski patrol the risk for avalanches is significantly less than surrounding backcounty areas. The risk however is not zero for avalanches.  You do not need an avalanche transciever to gain access to thunder bowl who ever told you that is flat out lieing to you. You do need an avalanche transciver to access white pine canyon legally from snowbird this much is true. white pine is an out of bounds areas and is not patroled bu snowbird ski patrol. You ski are your own risk.

FYI if your are spending the season in Alta/Snowbird it is worth it to get even simple old analog beacon just for the sake of being found in case of a rare but plausiable inbounds slide. I wore my beacon nearly everyday there just for piece of mind. Alta/Bird patrol is amoung the best in the world for controlling avalanches but we are talking vast areas with rapidly changing weather and snow conditions. the patrol simpyl cant always keep with it. Like I said its not a bad idea to get it even if you dont ski out of bounds especially if your hitting up to the hike to terrain of alta/bird like Thunderbowl, Baldy, and Devil's Castle.
post #3 of 15

If nobody else in the  bowl has a transceiver then your $300 transceiver is  not going to help. On the other hand 12 yards of red color cord that is easily thrown out of your jacket or pants pocket just might save your life.  Put the parachute cord in a very small stuff sack with one end tied securely to your body.   When needed throw the stuff sack and the cord will never get tangled into a knot. 

Avalanche cords

Using an avalanche cord is the oldest form of equipment — mainly used before beacons became available. The principle is simple. An approximately 10 meter long red cord (similar to parachute cord) is attached to the person in question's belt. While skiing, snowboarding, or walking the cord is dragged along behind the person. If the person gets buried in an avalanche, the light cord stays on top of the snow. Due to the color the cord is easily visible for rescue personnel. Typically the cord has iron markings every one meter that indicate the direction and length to the victim.

post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by catskills View Post

If nobody else in the  bowl has a transceiver then your $300 transceiver is  not going to help. On the other hand 12 yards of red color cord that is easily thrown out of your jacket or pants pocket just might save your life.  Put the parachute cord in a very small stuff sack with one end tied securely to your body.   When needed throw the stuff sack and the cord will never get tangled into a knot. 

Avalanche cords

Using an avalanche cord is the oldest form of equipment — mainly used before beacons became available. The principle is simple. An approximately 10 meter long red cord (similar to parachute cord) is attached to the person in question's belt. While skiing, snowboarding, or walking the cord is dragged along behind the person. If the person gets buried in an avalanche, the light cord stays on top of the snow. Due to the color the cord is easily visible for rescue personnel. Typically the cord has iron markings every one meter that indicate the direction and length to the victim.


you post is misguided, in a inbounds area like snowbird's thunderbowl a beacon will greatly reduce your chances of dieing if the trama doesnt kill you during the slide. At the very least it will let the searchers quickly recover your body with out doing probe lines.

If you were skiing thunderbowl even alone, patrol will be there with in 10 minutes if not much less time to slide sight. The thunderbowl traverse from the Gad 2 patrol shack took me about 5 minutes to do, most patroler are in better shape or better skier than me FYI they would probably be there quicker. The first thing they will do will be look for signs of skier/snowboarder, the next thing they do is start a beacon search. If you have a beacon on they will find you before the sorry souls that did not wear one. Not only that in LCC the chances of a non ski patrol having a beacon and being able to do a reasonably compent search are quite high. Alot of LCC locals wear beacons daily. One of those locals will most likely beat patrol there. If your caught under snow you have about 10-15 minutes of air to live untill someone finds you. I want all the help I can get.

to say that wearing a beacon is useless unless your with people is clearly untrue.

I am not saying a beacon is must for skiing there buts it is not a bad idea to buy one if your going to be there. there is no real downside to wearing one just as there no real downside to wearing a helmet.
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post




thunderbowl is a inbounds area at snowbird, its patroled and bombed by snowbird ski patrol the risk for avalanches is significantly less than surrounding backcounty areas. The risk however is not zero for avalanches.  You do not need an avalanche transciever to gain access to thunder bowl who ever told you that is flat out lieing to you. You do need an avalanche transciver to access white pine canyon legally from snowbird this much is true. white pine is an out of bounds areas and is not patroled bu snowbird ski patrol. You ski are your own risk.

FYI if your are spending the season in Alta/Snowbird it is worth it to get even simple old analog beacon just for the sake of being found in case of a rare but plausiable inbounds slide. I wore my beacon nearly everyday there just for piece of mind. Alta/Bird patrol is amoung the best in the world for controlling avalanches but we are talking vast areas with rapidly changing weather and snow conditions. the patrol simpyl cant always keep with it. Like I said its not a bad idea to get it even if you dont ski out of bounds especially if your hitting up to the hike to terrain of alta/bird like Thunderbowl, Baldy, and Devil's Castle.

 

I'm thilled to hear that you don't need the beacon to enter the Thunderbowl area!
I was told you need them by the ski shop I was planning on renting from... They happen to sell beacons... 

I think I will invest in a Avalanche cord.  Does it get in the way? 
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post




you post is misguided, in a inbounds area like snowbird's thunderbowl a beacon will greatly reduce your chances of dieing if the trama doesnt kill you during the slide. At the very least it will let the searchers quickly recover your body with out doing probe lines.

If you were skiing thunderbowl even alone, patrol will be there with in 10 minutes if not much less time to slide sight. The thunderbowl traverse from the Gad 2 patrol shack took me about 5 minutes to do,
I probably am misguided.  There are not too many people around these forums saying use a Avalanche Cord these days.   First let me say buy a transceiver if your in a area where an Avalanche can occur.  Absolutely, tour right.  The Transceiver will significantly improve your chances of survival.  Transceivers, also make recovery of your dead body faster which will put a lot less people at risk in avalanche terrain  during the recovery process.  

All that said lets talk about probability here.  Take a look at  Avalanche Survival vs Burial Time chart on page 8 from the book "Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain".  It looks something like the chart below.  The book has much different numbers then the chart below.   If your buried you got 15 minutes to get help, have the someone find you, and then digs you out.  If all that is done in 15 minutes your survival rate for non-trauma avalanche is 92 percent.  After 15 minutes your chances of survival are not good.  At 35 minutes your chances of survival is only 27 percent. 

The patrol you say is 5 minutes away.  Lets say more like 7 minutes away.  Then they got to find you.  That can take lets say 5 minutes.  Now the hard part they got to dig you out which takes 3 to 6 minutes and even longer if buried upside down.   You get the picture.   The fact that the patrol is 5 to 7 minutes away really hurts your chances of sruvival.  If you had a buddy with a transceiver that could immediately start searching for you.  Now you have significantly better odds of survival. 

All I am saying is Avalanche Cord is not a bad idea in a bowl filled with no transceivers and help is over 5 minutes away. 

Yes your right the best defense is wear a transceiver.


post #7 of 15
the deal is at snowbird quite often the first responder to inbounds slides are people who just happen to be there and have beacons. I have done beacon searchs on inbounds slides at snowbird that luckly noone got caught in.

I am not going to disagree that your buddy having and knowing how to use a beacon helps you out alot, but alot of times at snowbird the first beacon is close by. Its highly likely patrol could be freeskiing thunderbowl any ways while the slide went down.

FYI there has never been a slide on thunderbowl that I know of while its been open. Personally I have set of slides in Living the Dream, Rasta Chutes and nirvana while skiing there, yes they were all open. THe nirvana slide came over emma, luckly noone was there.
post #8 of 15
I think the cord is a good idea & one more line of defense.  I may just have to rig one of those up along with the doggy treat in my pocket.  You are right that we don't hear much about them anymore.  Back in the day the euros would ski avalanche terrain with a cord & a helium balloon attached to the end.
Thanks,
JF
post #9 of 15
Avalanche cords,,,,powder straps for your body. People often wear powder straps to help find their skis when they come off in deep snow. Avalanche cords serve the same purpose for your body. It has been many years since I wore an avalanche cord but back in the day we carried them because that was all we had. Now I use bright orange surveyors tape for my ski's powder cords when I think I need them, so why couldn't the same material be used for an avalanche cord? A person could even use a permanent marker to draw arrows on the tape pointing in the right direction. It is cheap and readily available, floats on the snow very well, and won't drag you down if it gets caught on something. It also easily tucks up under your powder skirt when riding the lift.

On the other hand if you are going to spend time skiing steeps inbounds on powder days then a beacon is a good thing to have on and to know how to use. Anything we do to help others find us or to help us find others is a positive. I think this is one thing that is often overlooked in beacon talks. It is not just about helping yourself but also helping others when possible. Just think how regretfull you would be if you had a beacon sitting down in your car and you happened to witness someone caught in a slide and couldn't effectively search for them. So if you own one wear it, batteries are cheap.

Bridger is like what Bushwacker says Snowbird is like, on those deep powder days, there will be someone close by who is wearing a beacon and the search will start before the patrol ever gets there.
post #10 of 15
 I have thought about using a powder cord for my skis.  An avalanche cord for my body seems like a really bad idea.  For the skis I could use flagging ribbon and tuck it under my pant leg.  The cord would help me find the skis if they came off in powder.  Avalanche debris is a lot different than powder.  Flagging ribbon won't work.  I would have to use something much stronger.  At least para cord strong.  I would have to drag it as an earlier poster stated.  A really bad idea IMO.  Or I could have it in a rescue bag and try and throw it out if caught.  If I am caught, I plan on trying to ski out.  If I can't do that I will be fighting for my life.  I won't have time to mess with deploying the cord.  I use a beacon, avalung, and helmet.  I'm very skeptical that if a cord was successfully deployed, that it would be as easy as pulling on the cord to find a body.  I think the cord would be frozen in the debris.
post #11 of 15
OK, I've been needing to know this. Avalung. Ok, so that film of the guy with the helmet cam getting swept down a face in Haines Alaska, had an Avalung. Couldn't get it deployed to his mouth. Fighting for his life, like you said. Are you supposed to ski around all day with a big hose in your mouth in case you get burried. I think that concept is flawed. Or is it just in case you get burried but not hurt or in a panic, and can somehow move your arms freely.  
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

.....  If I can't do that I will be fighting for my life.  I won't have time to mess with deploying the cord.  I use a beacon, avalung, and helmet.  I'm very skeptical that if a cord was successfully deployed, that it would be as easy as pulling on the cord to find a body.  I think the cord would be frozen in the debris.
post #12 of 15
 I position the Avalung near my mouth so that I can get it with a small neck move and bite no hands required.  I practice grabbing it while skinning and sometimes during a run.  I have never been caught and am trying to keep it that way.  If I am caught, I'm pretty sure I can get it and hold it.  The avalung will give an avalanche victim much more survival time under the snow...  Assuming they survive the ride down.  I think if someone feels the need to ski with the tube in their mouth through a whole run, that maybe their risk tolerance is out of synch with mine. 
post #13 of 15
I've heard that skiing with the mouthpiece in your mouth can help you breath in faceshot territory, kind of like a snorkel. I've never tried it with mine.
post #14 of 15
whoa! so, now two guys that wear an avalung. how many avalung users out there in epic-world.

TPJ, I see what you're saying. again, you maximize your options and your chances, though nothing is guaranteed when you have lost control to an avalanche.
post #15 of 15
Sounds like a poll to me!

I have one, wear it and haven't found myself in sufficiently bad conditions to use it more than once or twice. I am cautious and try not to get exposed to bad conditions. I also haven't been doing that much BC since I got it.

I did ski with a guy yesterday that has one zip-tied to his pack, along one of the shoulder straps. I didn't ask how often he puts it in his mouth 'just in case', but will when I see him again.

I do wear a beacon regularly in bounds. Cheap insurance once you own one.
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