NYT Article on Tunnel Creek Avalanche - Page 3 - Snowboarding Forum - Snowboard Enthusiast Forums
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:06 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I read it and as chilling as it was, it was also really informative and well done. I appreciated the videos from their GoPros.
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:29 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShredLife View Post
i can't read this thread without stating:

a 16 person group is about 10 people too big. its a little boggling to me that it isn't discussed more regarding this incident because it is the largest single factor as to why it happened - imho.

the terrain is a straight-up terrain trap and it was after a big fresh dump.

i'm not trying to be a dickhole or anything here, but noops and people planning on/thinking about getting in to bc riding need to hear this stuff and those already savvy need to objectively take lessons from this. it really can happen to anyone, but there are reasons that this happened and frankly - there was too much stoke.
+1...when I first read that article, which I thought was excellent, what struck me was the dynamics within a group that size. All were apparently very capable, highly skilled, experienced etc. but what made them throw all their better judgment out the window and follow the main guy's lead like lemmings off the proverbial cliff? The snowboarder that turned around when she realized what was actually going on did the right thing but kinda failed to raise her concerns at the same time, which I thought was a huge mistake. In the end, I was struck by the fact that peer pressure seemed to override good sense and judgment. People ended up dying because some in the group didn't want to lose face, scared they would be perceived as "weak" or somehow less capable than those they were skiing/riding with? I find that inexplicable.
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:20 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Just a bump.

Today marks the one year anniversary of this accident. For what ever reason this one brought the backcountry into the main stream consciousness. If you haven't read the NYT article in this thread, now is a good time to do so.

RIP guys.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:13 PM   #24 (permalink)
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I noticed the main point of the mistake here seems to be the 16man group, and it is ironic that almost a year to the day later an A-Basin ski patroller takes 14 people into in-bounds avy terrain and gets everyone caught in a pretty big slide. Maybe it isn't my place being no BC expert, but I certainly am one to join ski patrol tours for untouched stuff in bounds via hike, etc...but one person got completely buried, nobody died....WTF!?!





This just happened saturday!!!(CAIC report)
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:46 PM   #25 (permalink)
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holy fuck. 12 ft crown, down to the ground. they're lucky as hell they didn't get someone killed.



Accident Summary

Preliminary Report:

On February 16th at approximately 2:45pm, a group of riders was caught in an avalanche in Montezuma Bowl at the Arapahoe Basin ski area. The group consisted of 14 customers and 1 ski patroller. The area was closed to the general public, but the group was participating in directed skiing. Directed skiing pairs ski area customers with staff and is conducted in areas with a highly variable snow cover after avalanche hazard mitigation has been completed.

The avalanche released on a south-southeast facing slope at approximately 12,200 feet. The crown face was 330 feet wide and ranged in depth from 16 inches to nearly 12 feet. It was a hard-slab avalanche, triggered by a skier, of medium size relative to the path, large enough to cause significant injury, which broke into old snow and to the ground in places (AS-HS-R3-D2.5-O/G).

CAIC staff visited the site on February 17th, and are conducing a review of the accident with Arapahoe Basin staff. A full report will be available during the week of February 25th.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:57 AM   #26 (permalink)
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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 11:22 AM.
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:10 AM   #27 (permalink)
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I'm just glad no one got killed. Definitely some major bullets dodged on this one. They got lucky as hell. I'm sure this really shook up A-Basin and their patrol team. That's pretty much a nightmare scenario for them. Green lighting terrain for 14 guests then having them all caught in a large avalanche? Holy fuck. I bet they got a call from their insurance company the next day and caught an earful.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:06 PM   #28 (permalink)
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I have dreams of one day shredding Pali face top to bottom in 3 feet of pow (i've only ever seen it pretty much closed or boilerplate rocky moguls) but they have twin nightmares of the whole thing sliding....that is one long steep run.....
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:45 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Done Pallavicini in over 2 feet of pow. Not much of a worry about the whole thing sliding. The new snow is the only worry and that is generally not consolidated enough. It does slough off big time in the steep trees in the lower part of the run. Kind of a pita traversing across too...
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Old 03-07-2013, 02:41 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Thank you for this article. This is actually the first I've ever heard about this accident. It was really heartbreaking. RIP to our brothers. The danger of doing something you love.

God bless everyone. That story was very humbling.
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