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    2068 Posts

    I’m relatively new to backcountry boarding and have never been in an avy and haven’t really ridden in significant sluff either. What’s the biggest indicator that the moving snow beneath your feet is sluff and not an avy?


    460 Posts

    I think that technically sluffs are avys, they are just soft snow avys. Soft snow running down the slope. As long as they don’t knock you down, into, or over something bad…they are relatively easy to manage. Any of the good skier/snowboarder porn shot in AK shows pros dealing with their sluffs in amazing terrain.

    Most folks are most concerned with slab avalanches, where you have a cohesive slab over a weak layer. After a big slab avy you can see the fracture crown stretching across the slope…very scary…and not something you can “manage” just avoid.

    On the homepage for this site under the resources link they have a good selection of avy sites. Conways corner is pretty cool.

    4150 Posts

    @Ecobrad wrote:

    What’s the biggest indicator that the moving snow beneath your feet is sluff and not an avy?

    One is just sluff moving around you, the other is the whole slope moving around you.

    You will be able to tell the difference…

    178 Posts

    Hey ecobrad, bcrider howzit? You guys just keep getting hammered with snow.

    Anyway up here in the nw when you hear of patrollers speaking of avys its almost always slabs. They don’t really consider sluffs avys but just that sluffs. And how does it feel? Generally with sluffs, depending on size off course, can be ridden and usually you can float on top. Once again all is dependant on depth of sluff, terrain, and snow quality. Kinda resembles riding a wave. Slabs on the other hand, you couldn’t even stand so riding is much less is out of the picture. When blocks of snow are breaking up around you it has a tendency to churn and wanna pull you down. Check out this link from a avy I was in back in September. Copy and paste this url

    1669 Posts

    wow snoslut. 😯 Do you think by hiking near the rocks where the snow depth may have been more shallow (and isothermic ??) contributed to the slope releasing. Interesting that it slid when climbing, not descending.

    178 Posts

    Possibly powderjunkie but there were other contributors to. Regarding your comment, the crown covered a good portion and released down to the ice. The slope on our descent was in the runout so much more mellow.

    Anyways the obvious but not so obvious when clouded by visions of the steep and deep:

    – Sudden dump in September.
    – The Flett headwall is normally littered with ice climbers since the pitch is 50 degrees plus and ice beneath.
    – Cold temps don’t do much for bonding.

    Also the 3 ahead of me were spaced pretty close together. The first time where dragging ass actually had a benefit. Being so far back I was fortunate enough to see them come over the rocks and land on the section I was in. Next thing you know I was rolling out climbers left (boarders right).

    We all had powder fever and thought to ourselves avys in September? Normally not here in the nw. Lessons learned.

    282 Posts

    I think we all get into that mindset once and a while, but it reminds me of our local avy centers favorite early season saying ” If there’s enough snow to ride, there’s enough snow to slide.” Hard to think of sometimes when you’re more worried about rocks and such.

    2068 Posts

    Slut-What’s up, dude. That was one memorable day. Holy shit.

    All others-Thanks for the info. I’ve asked a few different people on how will I know it’s a serious avalache compared to sluff managment. I pretty much get the same answer– you’ll know.

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