Category Archive:Avalanches

A volunteer ski patroller started an "Are You Beeping?" project to help save lives in the Cascade mountains.

Waller's project “Are You Beeping?” installs avalanche beacon test sites and signage at resort gates and forest trailheads before users enter risky terrain. It's a chance for explorers to turn on their avalanche beacons. The signs also include information about avoiding risky terrain and unstable snow conditions.

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Juneau’s urban avalanche forecast is for “extreme” Juneau avalanche danger as of Saturday evening. There is a potential for “historic avalanches” in residential areas. City officials recommend that residents in the avalanche zone in downtown Juneau evacuate their homes.

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Two Alpine Meadows avalanche lawsuits have been filed by the widow and a friend of a dead skier. They accuse the resort of negligently rushing to open the unsafe slopes for a busy holiday weekend.

Cole Comstock, 34, of Blairsden, California, was killed. His close friend Kaley Bloom was seriously injured. They were caught in an avalanche on an Alpine Meadows ski run on Jan. 17, 2020. Nobody else was seriously hurt.

The two Alpine meadows avalanche lawsuits were filed in Placer County Superior Court by Bloom and by Cole’s widow. They seek unspecified damages from Alpine Meadows. The allegations include negligence, gross negligence and breach of contract. Raymond’s lawsuit also alleged the resort was to blame for her late husband’s death.

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Friday started as a perfect winter day. About a foot of new snow fell overnight. In the morning the sky cleared. Then by the end of the day the Sierra Avalanche Center had received many avalanche reports. Some happened naturally but many were caused by skiers and snowboarders.

In the morning the Sierra Avalanche Center posted its forecast. The center stated the obvious - that storm slabs in the new snow were a big concern. They rated the avalanche danger as “considerable,” meaning that skiers and snowboarders were likely to trigger avalanches.

The Sierra Avalanche Center works to prevent accidents by issuing daily forecasts. The U.S. Forest Service hires three full-time avalanche forecasters who backcountry ski and then write reports. The Sierra Avalanche Center fundraises on behalf of the U.S. Forest Service to cover much of the payroll and related expenses. There are also three part-time paid observers who go skiing to check on conditions.

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Avalanche

Two avalanche defendants, snowboarders, are facing charges and a $168,000 fine for an avalanche that threatened I-70. A judge just dismissed their motion to dismiss video of the avalanche they gave to Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

A Summit County Court judge dismissed a motion to suppress a GoPro video of the avalanche. Evan Hannibal and Tyler DeWitt had given the video to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC).

The video is evidence in the Summit County District Attorney’s case against Hannibal and DeWitt. They are charged with reckless endangerment and could face a $168,000 fine. These are the first criminal charges ever filed against skiers involved in an avalanche in Colorado.

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An elk survived an avalanche after being rescued by a nearby observer.

Jesse Dahlberg was watching railroad avalanche control crews use explosives to start relatively small avalanches near Field British Columbia. He noticed a lone elk was in the path of one of the avalanches.

“I didn’t know how big the avalanche was going to be so I was hoping for the best. When I saw it, I thought there’s no way that elk is going to survive.” Dahlberg said.

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Avalanche bombing experts work to ensure the safety of rescuers working on the ground. And on Sunday search and rescue crews worked on an avalanche recovery mission in Summit County.

“Avalanche bombing requires the pilot and a crew of three comprised out of the various ski resort areas. You have a controller and a bomber and a prepper," pilot Bret Hutchings said.

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The Park City Mountain Canyons Ski Patrol closed off its access to the backcountry adjacent to the resort. The unusual step was taken after a couple of recent deadly slides amid high avalanche danger. Prior to a couple of recent fatal avalanches there had been numerous others in past years as well.

A 31-year-old man died after being buried in an avalanche while skiing in the adjacent backcountry. He accessed it via special gates at Park City Mountain. More recently, a U of U helicopter responded to rescue two skiers. One was buried in an avalanche and died. They also accessed the backcountry via Park City Mountain.

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There were 133 reports of avalanches in Iceland in 10 days.

No people have been injured as a result of the events, though one recent avalanche in Skagafjörður killed at least three horses and destroyed a shed. One avalanche on the Skarðsdalur skiing grounds in North Iceland caused significant damage to the facilities. A third near Eskifjörður, East Iceland, damaged a shooting range and appears to have damaged facilities in the area as well.

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Two people caught in a Swiss avalanche were rescued after their dogs barked for help. The barking attracted the attention of nearby snowshoers who were able to dig them out.

“The dogs attracted the attention of a group of snowshoers who were some distance away in the same valley but had not witnessed the avalanche.”

About 15-20 minutes after the avalanche, the group was at the scene, where one of the avalanche victims’ hands was visible; the other person was buried entirely, Rega said. Both were dug out slightly injured and with mild hypothermia. Rega then flew them by helicopter to hospital.

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