I am quickly gaining an appreciation for the severe danger of skiing in warm weather and deep snow. For example, Lou Dawson has posted an in-depth look at an avalanche that just killed two people:
Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Check out this temperature graph from a snowtell site near the accident. Red line indicates temperature at the time of the accident, which was 48 degrees and spiked!
Interestingly, from a report I received from a source it appears the avalanche victims were attempting to stay in a slightly safer area of sparse trees on the side of a ridge just below timberline. But as is too often the case, when a deep slab triggers, sparse trees do nothing but provide things for you to hit as you’re swept away.
There is a lot to learn online, such as from sites like the Forest Service National Avalanche Center, Sierra Avalanche Center and the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, with a look at risks including a recount of who did and did not have survival gear and how they were found. All I can say is that being in deep snow is probably the most physically exhausting space I have ever experienced, and being strapped to a board pulling your feet can have a scary effect.
Mammoth Main Lodge Gondola at Twilight
…after riding an epic warm pow-day off 22 (that’s the tip of a 40 ft tree on the left, at the start of the “shaft”)
Photos by me.