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Skier-triggered avalanche at Copper, in bounds

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Anyone know any more about this? We were lapping Sierra lift, and on one ride up noticed some activity looker's left of the lift, bottom of Union Bowl area. A little ridge prevented me from seeing more of it, but by golly it kind of looked like some avy debris and a few patrollers tromping around in there. I couldn't see probes by this point, just their heads.

Got to the top of the lift, and there were a bunch more patrollers and they had closed off the front of Sierra under the lift, we had to go around back via Golddigger, etc. The lifty said it was a skier-triggered slide, but they didn't think anyone had gotten caught. My son was on a chair ahead of us and said he had seen a dog, too. I wish I'd been looking that way earlier; I was looking the other way on the way up.

This was on the other side of Kaboom, by the way, which was roped off. ie, it was poached terrain. (also, Kaboom was money yesterday! Couldn't see shi**, but there was a lot of snow.)
post #2 of 24
I just got into the area yesterday and skied Breck today.  Patrol shot 2 rounds up to the top of Peak 7 and pretty much the ENTIRE hillside (from the top) slid to the bottom. 

Very scary stuff there.
post #3 of 24
I was just starting into Jupiter Bowl and Ski Patrol RAN to me and more or less tackled me.  As I was right at the entrance stopped, there was no way I could see him, and when one of my companions inquired as to why we were being run out, the reply was that they "had a situation" they had to deal with.

Later, I heard from a guest at the mountain that they had had a slide, brought in the avi dogs, and found that no one was caught.

After my "incident" on New Years Eve, I'm thinking of wearing my transceiver inbounds again.

BTW, we observed a very small slide on Union Peak that had no apparent cause prior to all of the hoopla.

Be careful out there -- this is apparently a very rotten snowpack.

Mike
post #4 of 24
 I saw a bunch of snowboarders getting their passes pulled today for poaching Toilet Bowl.  I saw them gaping hard on their butts out in the middle and commented to my students "I don't think that's open right now", I heard "it's not" and looked over and saw a patroller.  "I guess their having a bad day they then" I said, "Reckon so" he said and skied off to intercept them at the bottom.  BTW they were pretty much right where the fatal inbounds slide occurred last year about this time.
post #5 of 24
About a week ago riding up Peru at Keystone they were blowing snow on Last Hoot and you could see where the manmade pile had broken in half and slid down the hill. I heard all pretty much all of the Stone Creek Chute slid off at BC a couple days ago. Maybe we were better off with no snow.
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

Later, I heard from a guest at the mountain that they had had a slide, brought in the avi dogs, and found that no one was caught.
 

Thanks for the update. I wonder how Spaulding is holding up. Husband and son got a directed run down on New Year's Day, but I guess it was only open a little while. (They were there -- without me -- at rope drop on Spaulding last year, too. Weird snowpack then, too, so maybe I'm not jealous after all.)

I'm kind of glad the kids saw possible (but not actually harmful) consequences of rope ducking, too. I sort of assumed that area was closed b/c of the shark fin rocks over there, but on second thought, it does get steep again right at the bottom. Hmm.
post #7 of 24
Noob here,
what's poaching?
post #8 of 24
 Had some nice turns at the open of the T-bar this morning.  Then off to ski with a nice group of Lvl 1s. When the skies cleared, I could see the slide on P7.  Incredibly impressive. I haven't seen anything like that in years.  I took a few pictures.  Enjoy.

Click to expand


Tony C in Horseshoe on our 2nd run
Tony Caldwell in Horseshoe Bowl
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by kandrey89 View Post

Noob here,
what's poaching?
In regards to this thread kandrye89, Poaching implies skiing or riding inbounds terrain that has not been opened by the ski patrol. While it is occasionally possible to enter closed terrain accidently, most often closed areas are roped off and posted.

Oh yeah, welcome to EpicSki.
post #10 of 24
Segbrown, they did have directed skiing in Spaulding AFTER the slide.  As I was skiing with my daughter who is struggling with the difference between her skill and her head, I didn't go, but did run into a few folk on the runout who said it was fantastic.

BTW, on Tuesday I was also on the ridge of Jupiter and observed 8 or 9 poachers who were confronted by Ski Patrol.  I'm not sure exactly what patrol told these folk, but they were all hiking up the hill in thick untracked snow to the ridge.  As soon as the last one got up, Patrol opened Endeavor for directed skiing.  I got 5th legal tracks on the run.

I know it is tempting to poach, but personally I don't think it is worth it consider the risk of having to hike uphill on steep terrain with tough snow, losing your pass or losing your life.

Mike
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

Segbrown, they did have directed skiing in Spaulding AFTER the slide.  As I was skiing with my daughter who is struggling with the difference between her skill and her head, I didn't go, but did run into a few folk on the runout who said it was fantastic.

BTW, on Tuesday I was also on the ridge of Jupiter and observed 8 or 9 poachers who were confronted by Ski Patrol.  I'm not sure exactly what patrol told these folk, but they were all hiking up the hill in thick untracked snow to the ridge.  As soon as the last one got up, Patrol opened Endeavor for directed skiing.  I got 5th legal tracks on the run.

I know it is tempting to poach, but personally I don't think it is worth it consider the risk of having to hike uphill on steep terrain with tough snow, losing your pass or losing your life.

Mike
Heh, I was skiing with my brother a few years ago when he still patrolled there, and we ran into some guys who had poached the boulder field at the bottom of Hallelujah. He waited for them at the bottom, explained why they shouldn't have ducked the rope, and made them hike all the way back up Hallelujah and ride down the right way.
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

I was just starting into Jupiter Bowl and Ski Patrol RAN to me and more or less tackled me.  As I was right at the entrance stopped, there was no way I could see him, and when one of my companions inquired as to why we were being run out, the reply was that they "had a situation" they had to deal with.

Later, I heard from a guest at the mountain that they had had a slide, brought in the avi dogs, and found that no one was caught.

After my "incident" on New Years Eve, I'm thinking of wearing my transceiver inbounds again.

BTW, we observed a very small slide on Union Peak that had no apparent cause prior to all of the hoopla.

Be careful out there -- this is apparently a very rotten snowpack.

Mike

I never thought much about transceivers until the trip to Montana last year, but after skiing some of the incredible terrain that is in bounds and realizing the amount or awe and respect that should be given to these mountains, I'm not sure you're far off on your thoughts.
Small price to pay for that one more iota of safety.
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

After my "incident" on New Years Eve, I'm thinking of wearing my transceiver inbounds again.
 

i bought a pieps freeride in the offseason for exactly this reason.  after all the inbounds deaths last year (9 in north america iirc) i figured my life was worth more than $200 and a handful of double-A's.
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by snowpro View Post

 Had some nice turns at the open of the T-bar this morning.  Then off to ski with a nice group of Lvl 1s. When the skies cleared, I could see the slide on P7.  Incredibly impressive. I haven't seen anything like that in years.  I took a few pictures.  Enjoy.

Click to expand


Tony C in Horseshoe on our 2nd run
Tony Caldwell in Horseshoe Bowl
 


Is that a crown from just looker left of the peak all the way down the ridge?

We have a large bowl that had to be bombed due to bad adhesion of powder on wind buff and ice. It had about a mile of crown and looks about like that.  New snow on old wind affected is a bad layer.

Anyone prompted to think about a beacon, we talked about it in thread: avalance beacon inbounds , davluri, or something like that.
post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by spach View Post


Quote:

i bought a pieps freeride in the offseason for exactly this reason.  after all the inbounds deaths last year (9 in north america iirc) i figured my life was worth more than $200 and a handful of double-A's.
 

Agreed. No amount of money can hold me back from ensuring the safety of human lives. Also, I'm new here, so hello everyone!
post #16 of 24
There is a very unstable layer of depth hoar right at ground level that's not going away anytime soon!
post #17 of 24
Speaking of that area at Copper, the face underneath Sierra is a surprisingly dicey spot.  I've seen that thing slide many times early season - the entire face, all the way to the bottom.  I stopped skiing that line and stick to the sides of it (mostly because those are better lines anyway.)

You said the visibility was bad, so I'm sure those guys just ducked the rope over by Kaboom.  Oops! 
post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinn View Post

Speaking of that area at Copper, the face underneath Sierra is a surprisingly dicey spot.  I've seen that thing slide many times early season - the entire face, all the way to the bottom.  I stopped skiing that line and stick to the sides of it (mostly because those are better lines anyway.)

You said the visibility was bad, so I'm sure those guys just ducked the rope over by Kaboom.  Oops! 
Naw, visibility was bad the day before; it was fine yesterday. I skied just inside the rope line that snowy day, and DID accidentally-on-purpose duck the rope at the bottom, but I was trying to avoid a gargantuan rock and the only place to go was under the rope. (Yes, that was me, if anyone was watching, who made it successfully under the rope, but upon standing back up, dug in my tips and front flipped. Good thing for my ego that visibility was poor. It was actually really really fun, flipping in a ton of soft snow; I was at the very bottom so I didn't miss any skiing, and my skis were dug in vertically so I didn't lose them. )
post #19 of 24
Did they have their ticket pulled or their season pass pulled?  Getting your season pass would be much more painful than just getting your ticket pulled
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

 I saw a bunch of snowboarders getting their passes pulled today for poaching Toilet Bowl.  I saw them gaping hard on their butts out in the middle and commented to my students "I don't think that's open right now", I heard "it's not" and looked over and saw a patroller.  "I guess their having a bad day they then" I said, "Reckon so" he said and skied off to intercept them at the bottom.  BTW they were pretty much right where the fatal inbounds slide occurred last year about this time.
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveys View Post


Did they have their ticket pulled or their season pass pulled?  Getting your season pass would be much more painful than just getting your ticket pulled


 

No direct answer for you, but I gave a ride to a boarder doing BC laps at Loveland Pass the other day and he said he had his CO Pass was "hot ticketed" (aka no skiing/invalidated) for 30 days.  I think he said it was for cutting a line, but didn't get details, so I am not sure if it was for cutting a lift line or poaching.  
post #21 of 24
I witnessed the patrol yanking their multiday passes.  I overheard a little of the butt chewing that went down.  I know they were done skiing that day and at the very least had to go and grovel for the return of the rest of their days.  They were lucky that it was a few days before Big Wally was caught and killed or they would certainly have been done this trip.  The rumor is that the day Wally was caught the patrol clipped a record number of passes.  I know that I saw a ton of poaching that day on the AV lift.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by steveys View Post


Did they have their ticket pulled or their season pass pulled?  Getting your season pass would be much more painful than just getting your ticket pulled

 
post #22 of 24
I am curious, does inbound avalanches only occur on diamond/2x diamond trails?
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by FB User (Private) View Post

I am curious, does inbound avalanches only occur on diamond/2x diamond trails?

As far as I know they can happen anywhere where the conditions are right/wrong, snow layers not bound properly etc. However, I suppose the steeper the trail the more likely something will slide. That's why it's so important to NOT dip under ropes. The patrol is there for all our safety and even they don't get it right all the time. If it's closed, ski somewhere else & don't double-guess the professionals.

CW :-)

PS - Reading this back it sounds a bit like I'm telling you off. Please understand that I'm really not - just trying to reinforce a very important point.
post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by cardweg View Post

Quote:


As far as I know they can happen anywhere where the conditions are right/wrong, snow layers not bound properly etc. However, I suppose the steeper the trail the more likely something will slide. That's why it's so important to NOT dip under ropes. The patrol is there for all our safety and even they don't get it right all the time. If it's closed, ski somewhere else & don't double-guess the professionals.

CW :-)

PS - Reading this back it sounds a bit like I'm telling you off. Please understand that I'm really not - just trying to reinforce a very important point.


 

Not exactly.

In addition to factors such as properties of the snow, the degree of steepness is signifcant. Around 35 degrees is considered optimal for avalanche release. Reasoning: pitches 45 degrees and steeper do not hold snow well, so the snow is constantly releasing naturally before it can build up substantially. (exceptions exist) , and pitches of 25 degrees or less may not produce the stress in the snow to cause it to fracture or release. (exceptions exist)
 
And as there are two types of avalanche: slab, and soft snow (includes wet slide), you have to develop your knowlege to a high level of sophistication in order to analyze the conditions on the spot.

exception: wind load, as wind deposited snow can build at 10X the rate of falling snow and it can deposit on very steep pitches. Furthermore, wind deposited snow is a faceted crystal and has poor adhesion due to having an absense of interlocking branches.
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