Friday, November 25, 2011

Avalanche Involvements and First Day of the Season

Out for the first ski day of the season. Doug commented that it is only four months since he took his skis off. Summer is short in Canada. Conditions really are extraordinarily good. There is nearly 2 metres (170 to 190 cm) of snow out there, so coverage is as good as a normal January. The last storm dropped about 60 cm of snow. Pretty sweet skiing.

Last night I attended the first session of a new course the CAA is running called Companion Rescue. Although, the course is pretty much review for me, I always find there is some little tit-bit you can learn and getting out for structured practice sessions is really invaluable.

One of the more interesting things to me from the class room session was this list of common factors leading to avalanche involvements:
  • Ignorance of persistent weak layers (PWL);
  • Underestimating wind effects;
  • Rapid temperature change (usually rise);
  • Surprised at size propogation;
  • Not recognizing terrain traps;
  • Solo travel;
  • Underestimating run-out potential;
  • Distractions;
  • Human factors.
 Some powder mining in the Whitewater slackcountry

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