Whoa guys. A-Basin fucked up but this was not out of character either. They had blasted this ridge several times over the past week. The skiers were participating in "directed skiing". This is what ski areas do when a run or runs at just about at that depth where they want to open them for everyone. They let a group of skiers gang fuck the terrain and pack it down a bit. That way when the next decent snow comes they can open it and people are not scraping it all off to the ground.
The biggest problems are that Montezuma bowl is relatively new. They do not have decades of blasting experience and avalanche releases that all ski areas rely on. Meadows, Baker, Squaw, Winterpark, etc. I guarantee that ski patrol took note of that sweet spot the skier hit that triggered this thing. I'm sure that will get blasted all to hell in future seasons. The only big problem I have with it is that they took people in the exact terrain that CAIC had been warning about for the past three weeks.
Good news is, everyone came out alive with one semi minor injury. A skier got a torn MCL. This was an area ski patrol had taken control measures in, this was not backcountry skiing in the normal sense.
Intimate knowledge of terrain really help ski patrol in their mitigation efforts. Even the best areas have accidents though. Remember Alpine Meadows lost a patroller to avalanche control this year. In an area that was always considered a safe zone and they had 60 years of data to back that claim. Unfortunately you get these once in a hundred year conditions that catch the pros off guard. Being that I don't think Montezuma has been open 5 years they missed this nuance.
Again not saying they are without fault, but this was not an irregular action either.
Last edited by killclimbz; 02-20-2013 at 12:22 PM.