I'm on an avy soap box...avy hits Tahoe resort
6 posts
5 users
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Swimmer
March 9, 2006
Member since 02/3/2005 🔗
143 posts
http://www.news10.net/storyfull2.aspx?storyid=16350

http://www.kcra.com/news/7820620/detail.html

Yeah, it's nothing dramatic, no one got hurt and it happened just outside of the ropes. However, how many of you guys have ducked the ropes for just a little bit only to work your way back inbounds for the next lift ride?

6 inch crown into a little gully gets really deep really fast.

I'll probably stay on my soap box for awhile, please bear with me. I'll now return you to your beer and development discussions.

canaanman
March 9, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
358 posts
It is very unwise to go about ducking ropes.

But, since skiing and snowboarding are an inherently risky sports, I only duck a rope when I know that I am not posing even a moderate chance of death. Never leave in-bounds areas at a resort unless you know what you're doing 100%, and only through access gates, never under ropes! Take proper equipment (transceiver, shovel, probe, emergency blanket(s), water, etc) if you go. In this day and age there is no reason for people to be dying in avalanches.

Perhaps the management of Mt. Hood Meadows says it best, with regard to their backcountry-style in-bounds area known as Heather Canyon, "Do not duck ropes! There may be extreme avalanche danger or AC going on in the Canyon. Nobody wants to be buried or blown up, so don't do it!"
Swimmer
March 9, 2006
Member since 02/3/2005 🔗
143 posts
Colorado currently is considering raising the fine to 1000 dollars for ducking ropes at ski areas. This does not include accessing b/c via the established gates, but rather clearly marked "do not enter" areas.
therusty
March 9, 2006
Member since 01/17/2005 🔗
422 posts
Quote:

Take proper equipment (transceiver, shovel, probe, emergency blanket(s), water, etc) if you go. In this day and age there is no reason for people to be dying in avalanches.





All that gear will not prevent you from dying in an avalanche. Stupidity is a reason for getting into one, but there are others. Once you are in the back country you should accept that you could be caught (and die) in a slide through no fault of your own. It's the same as getting in your car and hitting the road (e.g. the VP from Mariott that caught falling lumber the other day).

BTW - The March/April issue of skiing has a feature article on the subject. Well done!
Denis - DCSki Supporter
March 10, 2006
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,201 posts
Canaanman's post and the following one by Swimmer point up the major attitude differences about skiing out of bounds in east vs. west. These differences are sensibly based on real physical differences in the terrain and snowpack. Ropes must be taken very seriously in the west and you must only enter through the control gates.

As to the east, I'll assert that northern VT has the best trees and the best tree skiers in the world. Skiing the trees is a big part of the culture. The patrol know that and if they regard you as worthy and responsible (mostly a matter of not entering or leaving the woods when others are watching, especially kids), they will show you the good stuff. In the east you have conifers and hardwoods mixed up with much tighter and more irregular spacing than the west. Add ledges, waterfalls (ice cliffs in winter) and streambeds and you have a heck of a challenge. Those who ski this stuff well, and there are many of them, are good. New England has a moist 'maritime' snowpack that consolidates quickly after a storm. In the east you have to ski through the storm to get the best powder and the best of all is in the trees and near the trees on open slopes. Typically the powder starts to set up as soon as it stops snowing. A matter of hours can make all the difference. You have to be careful about which drainage you start down and how far you go. Go down too far and there will be a high ridge between you and where you must go to get out. Some of the remote places, like Jay Peak, have many square miles in which to get lost. It can be -40 on a cold winter night. You don't want to spend a night in that.

Above treeline in the west it is frightening at best to ski in a storm. Whiteout and the vertigo that goes with it are not fun. Furthermore you may be in a life threatening situation from avalanche or lack of visibility. I skied off a 20 foot cliff at Arapahoe Basin in a Whiteout. Didn't have the slightest idea it was there, but fortunately landed in very deep powder.

Heavily treed eastern slopes rarely slide although big slides that start above the timberline have been known to travel far into the trees below. The Gulf of Slides on Mt. Washington (the name is a hint) had one in Feb. 1996 that swept through a quarter mile of dense trees on a sub 20 degree pitch and killed 2 guys. There is a small plaque at the first aid cache the base of the bowl in their memory. Their mistakes were, 1.) being there in mid winter when the snow has not consolidated, and 2.) ignoring a high avalanche warning for Tuckerman Ravine a mile or two away. Both ravines are at the same altitude, face the same direction, and have almost the same pitch. Avalanche warnings are posted for Tuckerman but not for Gulf of Slides. The slides had 1100 vertical feet of 35 - 40 degree open slope on which to pick up momentum before hitting the trees. When I was there in May to ski well consolidated spring corn, the tree damage was very impressive. A swath hundreds of feet wide was broken, bent, ripped up by the roots and shattered.
SkiBumMSP
March 11, 2006
Member since 12/8/2004 🔗
224 posts
Quote:



Above treeline in the west it is frightening at best to ski in a storm. Whiteout and the vertigo that goes with it are not fun. Furthermore you may be in a life threatening situation from avalanche or lack of visibility. I skied off a 20 foot cliff at Arapahoe Basin in a Whiteout. Didn't have the slightest idea it was there, but fortunately landed in very deep powder.





I know how that goes! While at Sun Valley just this past January, I was skiing down Exhibition, a particularly steep and moguled run, and it started to snow to beat hell! I could not see anything - just all white. I got frightened, as I had no idea where I needed to go next, nor could I make out any terrain features, and I could not even see the bottom of the slope (where I ultimately needed to go). All I could do was just stop and wait for the snow to subside a bit, at least enough for me to continue.

Later that same day, nearly the same thing happened as I was skiing down through Christmas Bowl. However, in that case, I was just barely able to make out where a nother skiier had gone before me, and just followed his line.

As funny as this may sound, but that experience almost felt claustrophobic to me. Being out on this wide-opened bowl, you'd think how can I get claustrophobic. However, all I can see was white all around me. It felt like I was just being closed in by white all around me, with no escape. I felt relieved once I got down into some trees, and felt some sense of being in open terrain, with several trees around. Weird feeling.
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