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An object lesson

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
We were skiing Vail this weekend in the legal sidecountry terrain beyond Blue Sky Basin. The upper gate was closed, but you can access the terrain below the bottom of the fenceline without ducking any ropes.  We were whooping it up in 3+ feet of deep powder when I came over the top of a roll to find that the entire slope below me had avalanched to the ground, maybe 60 feet across and 60 feet downhill.  Probably very recently, since it was snowing hard and there was only a dusting over the dirt below.  I screeched to a stop just below the fracture as the person just behind me did the same.  He said, "Gee, is that a slab fracture line?", to which I replied, "Hell, yes, let's get the hell out of here", as I traversed exit stage right like a scared rabbit. Point taken.
post #2 of 9
So, the slab slid on the dirt/grass?  How deep was the slab?
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
About 30 inches thick.  To the ground.
post #4 of 9
Snowpack is very rotten right now in Colorado (and in other states as well).  Good that you avoided the slide.  I think it is really important right now to be as conservative as possible.  I'm going to start wearing my transceiver again.

Mike
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

You're not kidding, Mike. Three weeks ago I rode a small snow-over-rock slide down the big cliff-face under Vail's Mountaintop Express lift just after it had been opened. Ever since, I've been skiing wearing my Avalung pack, sometimes with the tube in my mouth, even in-bounds. We had a very thin sun-baked base, due to almost no snow for a very long time, followed by several big dumps of very dry powder in rapid succession, setting us up for to-the-ground slab slides, which is what we're seeing. Next time you're at Breck, have a look up at Snow White.

post #6 of 9
Yea, Jonathan Lawson posted a pic in the Copper Inbounds Slide thread of the slide on Peak 7.  Looks quite scary.  On Sunday, I was at Copper when the skier trigger avalanche came down in Jupiter Bowl.  My buddy was skiing Endeavor on Saturday and got tripped by a small slab release.  And I saw evidence on Union Peak of non-controlled releases.

It's pretty spooky out there, even inbounds.

Mike
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Huge slab slide to the skier-left side of Horseshoe Bowl at Breck Wednesday morning, I think it was; at least 150-200 feet across; the entire slope.  Patroller told me it was spontaneous.  But I saw a few folks skiing it by Saturday (I don't think it was actually open).
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by raspritz View Post

You're not kidding, Mike. Three weeks ago I rode a small snow-over-rock slide down the big cliff-face under Vail's Mountaintop Express lift just after it had been opened. Ever since, I've been skiing wearing my Avalung pack, sometimes with the tube in my mouth, even in-bounds. We had a very thin sun-baked base, due to almost no snow for a very long time, followed by several big dumps of very dry powder in rapid succession, setting us up for to-the-ground slab slides, which is what we're seeing. Next time you're at Breck, have a look up at Snow White.


because the storms travel west to east in general, we had the same conditions earlier this season, powder on old affected snow. We pretty much lost that whole layer to natural slides and sluffs combined with bombed slides. now we're starting over trying to get a sticky base that covers the rocks.
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by raspritz View Post

Huge slab slide to the skier-left side of Horseshoe Bowl at Breck Wednesday morning, I think it was; at least 150-200 feet across; the entire slope.  Patroller told me it was spontaneous.  But I saw a few folks skiing it by Saturday (I don't think it was actually open).
I am assuming you meant last Wednesday since you posted on Wednesday? If so it was definitely open because I skied Sunday and the rest of my family skied it Friday.But I definitely saw evidence of uncontrolled slides at Beck.

They were blasting till 11 on Sunday so they are doing their best to make it safe. Side note to that I noticed that many of the runs that used to be just named by locals such as Needles eye and Joker are now labeled on the trail maps and accessed controlled  
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