Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:17 pm Posts: 206 Location: Where the air meets the reefer
I'm writing this laying in bed, two days out of surgery. triggered a considerable slide that half-buried my partner (shattered his jawbone, broke his cheek bone and wrist) and hooked me up with a broken leg just this week (monday) here in southwestern montana. This is only my sixth consecutive winter out west, but is undoubtedly the most unstable of any ive seen, and the 19 inches we got last weekend were a brutal reminder that the avalanche danger is as real as anything and will continue into july regardless of how much snow we do or do not get.
I dropped in and took a few turns, cranking a heelside (which in hindsight should have been much gentler) that popped off a slide running over 200 feet, and smashed my partner who was near the bottom against a rockband and carried me quickly and turbulently to the bottom of the chute. we ended up having to get airlifted out and flown to a hospital.. coulda been a lot worse, and to be honest i'm glad it happened or i would still be riding carelessley and guided by an ego better suited for mick jagger or chuck norris.
bottom line: unless youre 120 percent sure your line can not and will not slide, youve dug a pit, and everyone is on board with the plan, youre tempting fate. Not sure why or how im still alive, but I owe my life to the guys that came to my rescue and everyday from here on out is gonna count.. and next season is gonna be mostly spent in bounds, and in church
Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:06 pm Posts: 206 Location: Udapimp, Idaho
WOW; Healing vibes and a big thank you for the reality check.
19 inches of heavy spring snow on a freeze thaw base is a slide waiting to happen, even without a ski cut. I love this extended season we're having but steeps and choke chutes are definite danger zones; even on a stable snowpack.
I've set off slope wide slides of heavy slop because of late starts in the spring and mostly stayed on top despite the board trying to pull me in to the rubble and thanked god it wasn't worse.
back from the brink to spread the word of caution is a service to to mankind.
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 5:44 pm Posts: 695 Location: The Magic City
All the local forecasters (those who would do a detailed report) hung up their skis two months ago. To the OP-glad you're ok. Look into the plethora of avalanche education options offered around Bozeman in the winter. Hanging up the split is definitely not the lesson here! Speedy recovery to ya!