Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mixed emotions

It's been a wild Winter so far, at least regarding my job as a heli skiing guide. Although we had some of the best skiing I've had since a few years, there is this lingering bad feeling of uncertainty in my stomach. Is it the aftermath of last years catastrophic snow pack or just plain good judgement of a devastating facet layer, who know's. I don't want to get into details about our snow pack structure, but I have to say that this could be one of the worst Winters regarding avalanche hazard in the last decade. Everyone working in the snow related industry thought that last year was as bad as it could ever get, but I truly believe that this Winter will be even worse than last. This is simply due to the fact that the weakness in the snow pack is very deep down, and the potential of triggering is fairly low. But God help you if you do find the sweet spot, or if you are simply happen to be at the wrong place at the right time. The picture above shows Andrew Wexler having a blast on the 1400m long tree run called Little Sister in the Selkirk Mountains. Below you see the other side of the coin, a massive avalanche ripping all the way down to the summer ice on a run called Finally. How much load does it need to trigger something like this 3 meters below your skis? I am certainly not the one who want's to find out. Play safe out there and good luck!

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