February 17, 2012

Colorado Avalanche Danger Rising

I am going ski-camping this weekend, so this item caught my eye. Fortunately, our skiing will be mostly in forested areas, not too steep. I am curious to see what the snow profile will be — last year it was "sugar snow" all the way down. Not pleasant.


Darrell said...

Well, nobody else is commenting, so I'll try, and hopefully not stick my foot in my mouth again!

One day many years ago, when I was living up in Leadville, I went XC skiing east of town, up in the old mining district, in the Mosquito Range. It was a big snow year, and there had just been a huge dump of fresh powder. I was skiing alone, which is a big no-no all by itself. I was above timberline, skiing up in the bottom of a bowl, with the sides of the bowl all looking like they could cut loose at any time. I was nervous as could be... but I figured as long as I stayed in the bottom of the bowl I'd be okay. Suddenly the ground erupted all around me! OMG I'm gonna die! I thought to myself... There was loud roaring, and the snow was flying all around... after a second or so I opened my eyes (and hadn't pooped my pants), only to see that the snow wasn't coming DOWN, it was moving UP in a big cloud all around me. I then realized what I'd done--I'd managed to ski right into the middle of a flock of ptarmigan, in winter camoflage of course, finally managing to startle them into flight on all sides of me. I'm surprised I DIDN'T poop my pants! I decided to turn back while I still could.

Chas S. Clifton said...

That's a wonderful story.

As for me, nothing so exciting, but I was skiing through a Summit County wetland area (flat) this last Sunday, and slabs of roughly king-size bed size kept breaking and sinking under me. I would have hated to encounter those conditions on a slope.

Darrell said...

I once had a similar experience when I lived in Summit County--old timers might remember the rockpiles north of Breckenridge, leftovers from the days of gold boat dredging. I'd hiked in behind the rockpiles, trying to get to the Blue River for some spring fishing. There was a lot of snow left on the ground, I was postholing a lot trying to get through, and big slabs were breaking all around me. One finally cut loose with me on top of it, dropping me right into the river.