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.”
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.
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.
DriveBC has shared dramatic aerial video of avalanche control work along the Trans-Canada Highway near Revelstoke. It shows a slide being triggered and then thundering down a steep mountainside east of Revelstoke. The wave of snow careens down the slope and over a snow shed.