Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bad, bad snow

You may have heard about all the people out west that died in avalanches last month. Here is a picture that shows why.

We had some pretty heavy snow in the beginning of December, followed by two weeks of bright warm sunshine. This is what happens to the snow. The avalanche people call it "rotten snow". The freeze-thaw cycle leaves really flaky, fragile snow. Then it snowed a lot on top of this crap. That makes for a wonderful recipe for avalanches. So far I think we are at around 20 dead.

Of course, they provide awesome information for avalanches here, but the alerts are often ignored.

On a related topic, a 15 year old girl died over at the Alta ski resort yesterday. She was skiing in the trees without a helmet and fell in a tree well. She was trapped upside down for 40 minutes and suffocated. Lessons:
  • Wear a helmet
  • When in the trees, ski with a buddy
  • Sometimes shit just happens
Very sad.
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