2 skiers in Permanently Closed area at Kicking Horse - Snowboarding Forum - Snowboard Enthusiast Forums
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Old 03-08-2009, 08:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
Zee
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Default 2 skiers die in Permanently Closed area at Kicking Horse

Unfortunate

Kicking Horse avalanche kills two

Anyone that knows Fuez, the whole north of the bowl is a permanently closed area, sometimes referred to as "Darwin's Chutes". It slides all the time. Some of the media is not specifying that these skiers were in a closed or permanently closed area, rather that it was in bounds.

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Old 03-08-2009, 08:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Sigh, seems more and more unfortunate occurances like this happen every year. Not sure whether to credit it to the increasing population of people wanting to go outside the slopes not prepared or just the unfortunate combination of weather, luck and condition. Either way, just plain sad.
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Old 03-08-2009, 08:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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it is sad but why would anyone go into an area notorious for slides? best wishes to their families though,
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Old 03-09-2009, 09:20 AM   #4 (permalink)
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They went in there because it was untracked and they had absolutely no idea how dangerous it was. All thoughts of fun and very little of consequence. Sad. Permanent closures within resorts and ones in the backcountry are not to be trifled with. There is a reason that they make them permanent. Not many areas have this, but ones that do, give that closed area a wide berth.

There are several areas that are not a permanent closure but have very high danger. Ten Little Indians on Berthoud Pass is a prime example. It looks great, but the near permanent cornice and frequent slides back there make it probably the most dangerous spot on the pass. In the 8 or so years I have been riding there, I have never put a track in that spot. The conditions have always been too sketch when I've been in that area.

Anyone with basic avalanche knowledge would probably (and I stress probably)have not been in that area. I read one person had a beacon, but anyone with or without knowledge can own one of those. I see plenty of examples of this every season.

Enough of my high horse. These people paid the ultimate price. My condolences to their friends and family.

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Old 03-09-2009, 01:21 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Sad story, though completely avoidable with a little knowledge and training. I bet the 14 and 36 year olds who decided to back off the slope will never forget this, and hopefully it will inspire them to get some avalanche training and know how to use the equipment. Or it could scare them off slack/backcountry forevor.

As much as it sucks to have to say, they were tempting fate in the mountains during a period of increased avalanche risk. When you don't respect the mountains, they can turn on you in a big hurry.

Link to CAC report

"Character: SE; 43 degrees; Cross-loaded Slope; Convex Roll(s).
ESE aspect. Windward/cross-loaded slope. Steep, unsupported (convex roll to cliff
band) slope. Many areas of weakness (rocks, trees)."

If you look at the stats this slope seems an almost guaranteed avalanche risk. On top of this there was new storm snow and wind loading. Lesson learned people, there is a very fine line between terrain that the ski patrol regularly maintains, and the other side of the rope that is permanently closed is for a damn good reason. RIP.
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Old 03-09-2009, 01:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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If people didn't go out on days with conditions reported like that, there wouldn't be much backcountry riding going on. Even on high days you can get out and enjoy some bc riding. You just have to choose your terrain wisely. This being a permanent closure is almost never a wise choice. Not too mention the danger you expose rescuers to by going in there. Here is a pic of the area. The horizontal area is the boundary closure. The down arrows are the likely slide paths. You can see the cornice at the top of this bowl. Very exposed, very high risk line.

The biggest problem I see with this area is that it's available for all to see. Lot's of temptation there. I am actually kind of surprised that KH doesn't mitigate this area. Maybe it's too high risk, from the picture it doesn't look that way. Things have a way of getting their point across differently when you are there in person though.
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Old 03-09-2009, 02:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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It's quite the hike to get up there. In addition, you need to cross under the rope and multiple closed and boundary signs.
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Old 03-09-2009, 02:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I definitely not saying it's a big hike out there. My main point is that it's nice and out in the open for all to see. Ropes or not, some will see that area and think that it offers easy untracked pow with easy access back to the resort. I can see that the hike up the ridge line to throw charges and do other avalanche mitigation techniques might be beyond the resources KH wants to use for that. Though an avalauncher or howitzer can take away some of that pain...
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Old 03-09-2009, 02:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You are right, it is very tempting. I do think they do some control in there, but probably not as much as they could.
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Old 03-09-2009, 02:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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On a side note. With this latest accident it brings the total number of avalanche fatalities in North America to 41 deaths.

That is 41 too many.
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