Bluebird Pow in the Backcountry

Here’s a quick head’s up for anybody planning on heading into the backcounty to get the untracked stuff this weekend.


Today, many people were observed engaging in unusually risky behavior just outside Crystal’s boundaries.   (We think maybe they didn’t know how risky it really was.)  Things look great and the temp’s have stayed cold, but there’s a persistent weak layer down around a meter or so, and settlement which = slab formation.  We’ve had a few fairly significant avalanches just outside the area over the past few days.


Remember, once you leave the ski area you leave the relative safety of avalanche control work and compaction from the tracks of many skiers & boarders.  Once you traverse under Threeway Peak you’re entering a whole different world.  Carry a beacon, shovel and probe–all which you’ve practiced using.  Keep a partner in sight…a partner who also has all that same equipment and practice using it!   Don’t assume you’re safe because you’re following the tracks of others.  Carry cell phones and have them turned on.  Consider carrying a whistle in case you get stuck upside down in a tree well.  Make a plan with your companions for what you’ll do when you get separated.  Or buried. 


And PLEASE, read the story of our friend Mark Callaghan here.


Stay Safe & Have Fun!




2 thoughts on “Bluebird Pow in the Backcountry

  1. Joel M

    As I write this, the search is still on for the skier who went missing on Tuesday 3/1/11. The Seattle Times reported that he was last seen on High Campbell by a patroller who knew him. How realistic would it be to add the RFID gates that are on Chinook to all of the lifts? That way, ski patrol would know with certainty what lift a particular skier used last, thereby narrowing the search scope. I realize it may be slightly expensive, and a bit of a nuisance when there’s no lift line, but perhaps the benefit would be worth it?


  2. Phil M

    Skiers and boarders need to be aware that when you travel into the backcountry, accidents and death are, in fact, a real possibility. We can’t expect rescue everywhere we go, so I don’t think the RFID system would be worth it. The question we all ask ourselves when we take any risky chance is, “is it worth it?” that is our own personal responsibility. Most of the time it is worth it, but sometimes accidents happen, and that is the chance we take.


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