Posts tagged: Avalanche
WINTER SPORTS — The snow has barely piled up in the mountains and the first avalanche accidents of the year are being reported in the West.
Two levels of avalanche courses are being offered in the next few months at Schweitzer Mountain Resort organized by SOLE (Selkirk Outdoor Leadership Education) based in Sandpoint.
An AIARE Level 2 Course is set for Dec.7-8 and 14-15.
The four-day course provides backcountry leaders the opportunity to advance their avalanche knowledge from Level 1 instruction by adding the the evaluation of factors critical to stability evaluation and decision-making skill development. Cost: $495.
An AIARE Level 1 Course is set for Jan. 18-20.
This three-day course on Decision Making In Avalanche Terrain is open to students ages 16-25 with scholarships available.
An AIARE Level 1 Course is set for Jan. 18-20.
This three-day course on Decision Making In Avalanche Terrain is open to students ages 16 and older with scholarships available for youths.
On Saturday, five men participating in the Rocky Mountain High Backcountry Bash on Colorado's Loveland Pass were killed by an avalanche, the deadliest in the state since 1962.
The Backcountry Bash was a fundraiser for the area avalanche center. —Denver Post
WINTER SPORTS — “We had it going on for a while, the melt-freeze I mean,” said Kevin Davis in today Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center weekly forecast.
“Last weekend the conditions were great and if you could have had this week off you would have been getting into some corn snow conditions. No solid overnight freeze put an end to that and you'll find slushy snow prevailing.
“Possibly a little dust on crust up north and to the south will be slush on slush.
“Be careful on steep terrain if you venture out today and this weekend. Use you spring travel techniques. I'll post that next week. This is our last official advisory this winter.”
WINTER SPORTS — “A lot of snow in the past week, and it fell with a lot of wind,” warns Kevin Davis in today's weekly advisory from the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center.
Winds were mainly out of the west so use caution on the easterly aspects, NE through SE. I found a decent slab over a weak layer of facets on a north aspect in the Selkirks yesterday and I wouldn't have been on any steep and exposed slopes with that under me.
No shooting cracks or whumphing but if you dig down through the powdery snow you'll hit an ice crust, isolate a column on that and give er a whack and see what happens. Go or no go? It'll settle a little bit today but check it again this weekend. Great conditions out there right now.
WINTER SPORTS — Warm temperatures have softened snow to the tops of the region's mountains this week, according to avalanche forecasters who were out in the Selkirk Mountains Thursday.
“It may have tightened up a bit at the higher elevations but it was wet yesterday, to the top,” says Kevin Davis in the intro to today's report on avalanche conditions from the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center.
“Temperatures seem to be coming down a bit, from 40 last night, but they may go up before they drop back down. When its this warm you want to be a little more cautious of steep terrain.
“Some surface slushies were running yesterday. More snow on the way by Saturday night, with strong west winds.”
WINTER SPORTS — Be careful out there winter snow goers. The warm front with heavy wet snow is creating high avalanche danger in the region's mountains, as you'll see in this National Weather Service warning for the North Cascades issued Wednesday evening.
The Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center posts its weekly advisories on Fridays.
WINTER SPORTS — Backcountry snowgoers have been finding great conditions here and there, an reasonably safe slopes.
“Look for sheltered areas to have the lightest surface snow,” says Kevin Davis in today's avalanche conditions report from the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center.
“Exposed slopes were firm from wind and sun. Some shears in the upper 1-2 feet of pack but nothing pulling out with energy that concerned us. You will want to be concerned when the new snow comes in, possibly wet, heavy, and windloaded. Bad combo. Know your lee aspects.”
WINTER SPORTS — Snow conditions are “mostly stable” in the region's mountains going into the weekend and the weather forecast calls for improving stability from the slight weak layers discussed in this week's avalanche advisory by the Idaho Panhandle Avalance Center.
WINTER SPORTS - Weather is causing changes in snow stability that backcountry skiiers, snowshoers and snowmobilers should be aware of when traveling in the mountains today and this weekend, according to the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center's weekly report on mountain snow conditions.
“On easterly aspects we have a layer of buried surface hoar that is unstable and mostly isolated to sheltered slopes but it can be found from NE, E, to SE slopes with varying degrees of weakness,” said Kevin Davise, avalanche forecaster. “Due east seems to be where it is weakest. Other slopes are mostly stable but as temps go up today watch for weak layers developing on any steep slope.”
WINTER SPORTS — Read the story of a couple that beat the odds of disaster.
Also, read the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center's weekly forecast when it's posted on Friday before heading into the winter backcountry.
WINTER SPORTS — This film, “Ode to Avalanche,” will be awesome to some winter recreationists and frightening to others.
Either way, I hope it at least prompts you to check in with a regional avalanche forecast — such as the weekly bulletin by the Idaho Panhandle Avalance Center — before heading into the winter backcountry.
Update: Read this new enlightening Elk Mountain avalanche report on an slide that buried a skier near Marias Pass in Glacier National Park. It was close to being much, much worse.
WINTER SPORTS — Have a happy, holy and safe holiday in and out of doors.
See the Idaho Panhandle avalanche advisory if you're heading to the mountains.
Use the kid-keeping tip above at your own risk.
WINTER SPORTS — Our newspaper covered the Feb. 19, 2012, avalanche tragedy that killed three expert skiers at Stevens Pass, and I wrote a column that week explaining why avalanche tragedies must be explored.
But 10 months later, The New York Times has put together a long, in-depth, informative and fascinating multi-media report on the incident.
It's called, Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek — A group of world-class skiers and snowboarders set out to ski Tunnel Creek. Then the mountain moved.
AVALANCHE — A woman who was buried by an avalanche at Crystal Mountain on Wednesday was rescued by a group of skiers, one of whom had a helmet cam on during the entire event.
She was wearing no avalanche beacon to help her rescuers with the search, according to news reports, but that's not confirmed here.
This chilling video shows how very, very close she came to dying in a tomb of snow and how her well trained and equipped rescuers kept calm, focused and did the job.
There's no gore here, but a lot to see, hear and absorb if you're a backcountry skier, snowshoer or snowmobiler.
The avalanche happened at minute 4:30 in the video. The rescuers found her and were yelling to give her a breath at 12 minutes — more than 7 minutes after she was buried!
After a visit to a hospital, she was OK.
WINTER SPORTS — Following the big storms is a thrill for skiers and boarders, but noting yesterday's close call with an avalanche at Crystal Mountain, please enjoy the powder of today's incoming storm with a measure of caution.
This near-tragedy follows the burial of skiers at Schweitzer Mountain Resort earlier this month.
Today's Associated Press report has details:
Young woman buried
in WA avalanche rescued unhurt
CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN, Wash. (AP) — A young woman buried by an avalanche for at least 10 minutes Tuesday at Washington’s Crystal Mountain ski resort was rescued unharmed, the head of the resort’s ski patrol said.
She was part of a party of three skiing in a steep area of expert terrain when the trio triggered a small avalanche, said Paul Baugher, ski patrol director. Two young men were partially buried but able to dig themselves out.
They or nearby skiers immediately called the Crystal Ski Patrol emergency number and a ski patrol member reached the spot within five minutes, Baugher said. Ski patrol personnel and other skiers equipped with collapsible metal probes searched the area and found the buried woman.
“They were able to get this gal out in 10-15 minutes,” Baugher said Tuesday night, adding she was checked out by a doctor and was fine. He didn’t have additional details about the skier.
The buried skier was not equipped with an avalanche locator beacon or an air bag. Baugher estimated she was “a couple of feet down.”
“There is air in the snow, you can breathe that for a while,” he said.
A major storm this week dumped more than 40 inches of snow on Crystal in about 36 hours, Baugher said.
“This is one of those things that creates phenomenal powder skiing but with that comes an increase in the avalanche hazard,” he said, adding avalanche control crews had been working all day.
Ski patrol personnel were pre-positioned in the area because they had just completed some avalanche control work nearby. No avalanche control work had been done in the “random little pocket” where the slide occurred because “you would never expect an avalanche in this particular place,” Baugher said.
He stressed that “this came out great” because everyone was prepared — the young woman was skiing with companions who could report where she was last seen, skiers had the direct number for the ski patrol, patrol personnel were nearby and everyone involved had the equipment needed for a quick, effective search.
“There’s always luck,” he said. “But when a good outcome comes, we make a lot of that. The skiers helped make some of their own luck.”
Crystal Mountain is located on the northeast corner of Mount Rainier National Park in Washington’s Cascade Mountains.
WINTER SPORTS — I'm just picking up on in-bounds snow slides that buried at least two skiers last Friday on the Headwall at Schweitzer Mountain Resort. Both were rescued by other skiers and no injuries were reported, but apparently the situations could have easily gone the other way.
Conditions change, but the main thing to be aware of is the underlying ice layer that could persist in some areas.
Read on for Schweitzer avalanche incident posts from last week on Epicski.com:
WINTER SPORTS — Ortovox has issued a recall notice for Ortovox 3+ avalanche beacons within certain serial number ranges.
During search training, avalanche transceivers of the ORTOVOX 3+ model switched to transmission mode unintentionally after 120 seconds in search mode. Internal tests showed that a certain production batch of the 3+ can exhibit this behavior.We are responding immediately and, as a precaution, are recalling all devices shipped to vendors after October 17, 2012, for inspection and a software update. These devices can no longer be used without an update.
The manufactuer's website allows customers to check their website for the range of beacons that are being recalled. If you have this product, check this out before taking it into the field.
WINTER SPORTS — A 28-hour Level I avalanche class geared to ski patrol, search and rescue and backcountry skiers/snowboarders is being offered over the next three months starting next week.
Arch Harrison, local search and resecue and ski patrol veteran, will teach the classroom portion at the Mountain Gear retail store in Spokane in three 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. sessions: Nov. 28, Dec. 5 and Dec. 12.
The on-snow field section will held on Jan. 26 and 27 at Silver Mountain Ski Resort.
Cost: members of ski patrol or searcher rescue organizations $100; general public $175. Tuition includes books and for non-ski patrol members associate membership in national ski patrol.
Participants should be intermediate skiers/snowboarders, all participants will be required to carry an avalanche transceiver, shovel, probe for the field portions of this class. Transceivers for the field portion of this class all need to be multi-antenna transceivers.
Space is limited. Pre-register by contacting Arch Harrison at: firstname.lastname@example.org (please put avalanche class in subject line) or all (509) 998-9384.
WINTER SPORTS — Snow is coming to the mountains, and the most savvy backcountry travelers are gearing up physically as well as on their snow-travel skills. Here's a good start:
The 2ndannual Northern Rockies Avalanche Safety Workshop, Oct. 13, 2012, from 7:30 am until 6:30 pm at the Grouse Mountain Lodge in Whitefish, MT.
The one-day event mixes avalanche professionals and winter backcountry enthusiasts. The program is headlined by six speakers with varied experiences, backgrounds and expertise in avalanche forecasting, theory, information processing, emergency decision making and other up-to-date backcountry information.
Session topics range from technical (recent developments in stability and fracture propagation tests) to personal (Elyse Saugstad’s real life survival story.) The full schedule for the day is available online.
“The Workshop is about learning, networking, seeing old and making new friends,” said Ted Steiner, NRASW chairman. “It's also a time to remember that winter is on the way, get excited about getting outside, and most importantly, remember we need to be safe and educated when traveling the backcountry. We need to come home to our families and enjoy season upon season of future winter endeavors.”
Read on for more details about the speakers and registering for the event.
WINTER SPORTS — The calendar says its spring, but the snow keeps piling up in the mountains, inviting skiers, snowshoers and snowmobilers into continue their winter ways.
Go in a group, keep track of the weather and use your best winter travel sense – because you’ll pretty much be out there on your own. Despite more layers of new snow this week, most of the region’s downhill ski areas will close for the season on Sunday.
And the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center has stopped testing the snowpack and posting weekly avalanche advisories.
Kevin Davis, IPAC director, posted a summary of spring snow travel tips to help snow goers make good decisions on their routes through spring snow conditions.
“With a better than average snowpack we should be doing well on mountain travel until late June in places,” he said.