Jeremy and Brendon successfully completed the Avalanche Science's Level 1 course. They demonstrated that they can produce a travel plan, generate avalanche risk assessment using the Avalanche Conceptual Model, and reliably complete a full rescue of a single victim buried at 1.2 meters in less than 5 minutes, earning them a certification in addition to their AIARE diploma.
During the three days, we skied some of the best lines at Winter Corner, Summit Creek Glades, Lamar Ridge, and Whoop Um Up Steep headwaters. The snow was consistently good at all elevations and aspects.
AVIL120180302 from Santiago Rodriguez on Vimeo.
Last weekend the snowpack conditions were ideal to observe weak layer rounding and sintering of precipitation particles responsible for a "storm slab" problems at elevations below 7000 feet. At elevations above 7500 feet, the storm slab continued to be reactive, with CTEQ1 results at 30-35 and 60-65 cm depths. Colder temperatures (-10 Deg-C) slowed down the rounding/sintering and settlement of the snowpack. In contrast, at 6100 feet there was as much as 10 cm of settlement (densification, NOT whumpfing) in the snowpack.
|Snowpit at shallower low elevation terrain.|
The course participants were challenged by the variable distribution of wind and deep persistent slabs but were able to select terrain in excess of 30 degrees to keep pow skiing exciting. Evaluation of storm slab became routine with their new found knowledge and stability assessment skills.
|High elevation terrain - Steeper and deeper snowpack.|
This avalanche occurred to somebody I ski with in the backcountry. My friend was skiing with another person last Sunday. I should highlight - my friend is an experienced skier and knew they entered avalanche terrain. But my friend was skiing with another person that went the wrong way and triggered the avalanche at a low 30's slope with a lower elevation northerly aspect. The person that triggered the slide hold to a tree, and was unharmed from the D2 slide.
The avalanche failed at the facet layer below the new snow. The distribution of this persistent slab is variable. I observed it last Friday at Sunset Peak burnt areas characterized as snow fetching areas due to the recent NE winds. These low elevation shallow areas are NOT where we expect them to be! Skiers need to visually identify snow transported areas (ablation and accumulation) and continue checking for what's BELOW the new snow. Hand pits baby, hand pits.
|Avalanche Science Course Line-up for March|
I would like to take this opportunity to thanks the crew of IDT-Idaho City for their fabulous job in extending the pull-out at the Winter Corner location. This was a busy weekend and your job kept skiers safer and made driving easier for drivers using I-21!
|Winter Corner Parking|