Some Turns-All-Year regulars suggested I post something related to a recent discussion on the TAY website regarding hiking into closed terrain and avalanche runout zones, within/nearby ski areas. Find it HERE. (Thanks you guys!) Comment below if you have questions!
PNWBrit’s comment is the funniest. We’re not really eating bacon sandwiches (It’ll make sense when you read the post) but we ARE occasionally delayed in opening terrain, by people (or the ski tracks of people we can’t locate) below us. It’s scary to have a job where you have to worry about blowing-up or suffocating people who don’t follow your safety signs and make bad choices.
During times of heavy snowfall and times of intense solar radiation (remember, it’s invisible so it can happen even on cloudy days even if you don’t notice it!) those short delays in getting avalanche-mitigating skier & boarder compaction on avalanche prone slopes can necessitate our returning for second passes over terrain we already covered, which delays openings even further!
On a related note:
You may have heard we had an avalanche rescue (KIRO-TV story here) in the "outside-the-ski-area" part of Silver Basin last Sunday night. (I hope to post more about that soon!) The part of THAT story that relates to THIS story is this:
Part of the rescue included our crossing uncontrolled avalanche starting zones to get to the injured skier, and taking a snowcat up into a part of Silver Basin that isn’t usually groomed to facilitate the skier’s recovery. Remember:
Explosives use and ski cutting in avalanche starting zones, and the use of heavy machinery including buried/hidden winch-cat cables that may displace over long distances without warning, can occur any time day or night without advance notice within ski areas, and may occur adjacent to ski areas during emergency rescues. Pay attention to what’s going on around you and always know where you are in relation to the Ski Area Boundary. And always know the current and forecasted avalanche hazard when you’re off groomed slopes and outside normal operating hours!