The Forest Service Avalanche Center for the Sierra would not exist without community donations, despite being a government operation.
Category Archive:ski area
Eaglecrest Ski Area, AK, confirmed a large inbounds avalanche in a closed area of the resort. Crews using beacons, probes, dogs, and RECCO equipment searched the scene but found nobody trapped. The resort had received 25″ of fresh snow in the previous five days. The slide, in the East Bowl Chutes, was seven feet deep and ran for 100 yards.
Sidecountry vs. backcountry. In both areas accidents can happen. Skiing and snowboarding, even at a ski resort, is never without risk. Understanding avalanche safety, having the proper gear, and knowing how to use it matter. If recent avalanches have taught us anything it’s that not all areas are safe. There are no universal truths to avalanches. Even areas that traditionally are safe can quickly become deadly in the right conditions.
On many winter days explosions can be heard echoing across many ski areas. These are the sounds of avalanche mitigation.
There are a few ways the ski patrol can mitigate avalanche risks. While the explosive business is the most dramatic two other methods are used as well. Ski cutting and compaction.
“We don't do any mitigation outside of the resort and so it's 100% on the on the user, on themselves; we do worry about it from a rescue perspective but we do not do anything to mitigate that hazard," Andy Van Houten, snow safety director of Park City Mountain, said.
Last week an avalanche was reported in the Dutch Draw area of Park City, Utah between the lifts Peak Five and Ninety-Nine 90. According to Van Houten the avalanche occurred in the back country. "We worked with the Department of Public Safety helicopter," he said. "We're able to establish that nobody was involved. We had all of our witnesses accounted for, all is good.”
A skier was killed in an avalanche Saturday, December 11, in Silver Basin, a closed area of Crystal Mountain, Washington, that ski patrol had not mitigated for avalanche hazard. Six skiers from the same party were caught in the slide. Four skiers were partially or fully buried, three of whom were successfully recovered. The fourth skier was found unconscious and did not respond to resuscitation efforts. All skiers involved were carrying avalanche equipment and several had taken a recent avalanche course.
Avalanche fences are being installed in Park City, Utah despite a petition to halt the construction. However, the petition appears to be to irrelevant now, since the construction of the avalanche barriers are underway.
Iron Mountain Associates plans to install 214 avalanche fences. The avalanche fences are three to four meters tall and under construction in The Colony neighborhood. The avalanche barriers aim to prevent an avalanche from hitting the driveway of two specific homes.
An out-pour of community outrage has ensued since the county approved the project in 2020. Despite the community opposition, the construction of the fences is now underway.
While avalanche fences are effective, professionals feel there are better options. Alternatives exist which do not cause as much harm to wildlife and do not create extreme visual degradation.
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.
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.
A North Caucasus avalanche struck a skiing area in the region of Karachai-Cherkessia. Russian authorities say as many as 12 people may have been buried under snow.
Russia’s Emergency Ministry said on January 18 that the avalanche hit the area around the resort town of Dombai. On Mussa-Achitara mountain at around 1:30 p.m. local time.
Rescue work to locate and extract those trapped by the avalanche is under way.
The wall of snow buried two ski equipment rental stands and damaged a cafe.
Dombai is a popular skiing resort in the North Caucasus.