Thursday, April 10, 2014

Avi courses with Chago and Pedro

Acquaintances and friends have been wondering how to be part of the exciting and innovative avalanche courses where Pedro and I are part of the instruction staff.

For USA courses contact Silverton Avalanche School (SAS) at:

This was my second year at Silverton, and Pedro's first. The instructors and participants stay at the historical St. Paul Lodge. Many of you recall from how much fun you had with Pedro and I in a backcountry hut. Next year you have a chance to relive those old memories.
This year the SAS Avalanche course was designed to minimize time in the classroom. We only spent 4 hours in the classroom in downtown Silverton, and the rest of the 3.5 days in the field at Red Mountain pass.

New innovative concepts were covered in the field, introduced at the hut during teams trip planning sessions, or during teams trip debriefing at the end of the day.

Every evening we had Special topics meant to enhance understanding, instead of providing knowledge that will be forgotten after the course. The special topic sessions were conducted under a relax environment, next the fireplace, right after dinner.

Space is limited, thus if you are interested you need to contact Silverton Avalanche School not later than late in the fall.

Edit by Pedro: I am interested in teaching a "Avy for Teens" or "Avy for Family with Teens". If that sounds interesting to you, let us know so that we can try to make it happen.

The Austral winter is fast approaching. Snow is already falling in the Andes! It is about time to start daydreaming about the skiing in the Andes Mountains. Below some pics from last July/August 2013.

Maybe these pictures will convince you to join us this year in South America.

For english based avalanche courses designed for European/American/Canadian skiers in the Chilean Andes feel free to contact:

For english/spanish avalanche courses in Argentina:

For Spanish avalanche courses in Malalcahuello-Chile contact:

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Pow at Top Of the World in April 2nd 2014

Super FUN day at Pilot Peak!  Nature continues to be bountiful.
Top of The World - Pilot Peak

No need to add words. The picture and video shared above tells it all.

The buried weak layers  created by thin rain crusts in top of cold snow are sintering well, not a surprise considering the significant short term loading of 70-90cm for the last three storms, combined with snow temps in the -4 to 0 degrees celsius. East aspects produced resistant planar fracture quality results (Q2) with moderate trigger scores  (CT11-20). No evidence of propagation was found. At 7800 feet East aspects the new snow load since last Wednesday March 26 was 90 cms.

At 7600 feet North and Northeast aspects the new snow load since last Wednesday March 26 was 70 cms. Only broken fracture planes under scores in the hard end were produced. Pretty surprising results!

The snow is sintering very well in top of last Sunday snow. In addition, no signs of natural releases were observed either. The new snow was deposited in what appears to be during a period of light Northwest winds. More northerly aspects had 20-25 cms of soft pow, and aspects with more East had 25-30 cms of the soft stuff. Typical of this time of the year, at lower elevations (below 6500 feet) the snow was impacted by the bright and warm effects of the sun.  As we skied out in the afternoon, the snow was densifying. However, it is reasonable to expect crusty conditions by Thursday. The trick for the next days will be to search for high elevation snow at protected slopes with N & NE aspects.

Below pics of Almost top of the world. As noted earlier the snow was more plentiful, but also softer than at Top of the World.

As we skied out via the Knob, we were reminded how much different the snowpack is this year. Skiing out through the Summit Creek was easy! After three years of spartan amount of snow at lower elevations, it feels good to JUST ski out without having to bush wack at the creek bottoms.