Avalanche article

8:11 p.m. on March 24, 2020 (EDT)
andrew f. @leadbelly2550
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New Yorker has a long one this week about avalanche science. Behind a paywall.  Here is a short excerpt, for your education. Worth getting the March 23 magazine (I have been a subscriber since the mid-80s).   

Annals of Nature: Cold War Snow science against the avalanche. BY JAMES SOMERS ILLUSTRATION BY THOMAS DANTHONY We think of snow as a solid mass. In reality, it’s a layer cake. One night earlier this winter, the only road out of Alta, Utah, was closed down. At ski lodges, signs warned guests to stay inside or face fines. Already that season, twenty-two feet of snow had fallen, and, the day before, a storm had dropped thirty-three inches; another foot was predicted by morning. The most dangerous time for avalanches is after a rapid snowfall, and three-quarters of the buildings in Alta are threatened by a known avalanche path. A standard measure for danger on roads, the Avalanche Hazard Index, computes risk according to the size and frequency of avalanches and the number of vehicles that are exposed to them. An A.H.I. of 10 is considered moderate; at 40, the road requires the attention of a full-time avalanche forecaster. State Highway 210, which runs down the mountain to Salt Lake City, if left unprotected, would have an A.H.I. of 1,045.....

12:50 a.m. on March 25, 2020 (EDT)
balzaccom
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That is a great article...even better than the cartoons in that magazine!

11:59 a.m. on March 25, 2020 (EDT)
ppine
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Spread out when you travel.  Tie a long piece of bright paracord to your belt and trail it.  Bring a shovel even on day trips.  Dig a pit and look at the snow layers.  Travel across chutes, never climb them.  Look up the slope.  Look for evidence of recent slides.  

For mountaineering applications, add beacons and collapsable probes. 

12:45 p.m. on March 25, 2020 (EDT)
balzaccom
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If you want serious advice about avalanches, you should read the whole article.  And if you are going to go into avalanche country, you should know what you are doing...and not pick up a few ideas from the internet!  grin.  This is a serious topic. 

11:34 a.m. on March 26, 2020 (EDT)
andrew f. @leadbelly2550
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worth taking a short class on the subject, because beacons, flotation backpacks, etc. may work in some situations but may not work in others.  it's not just snow conditions; weather plays a pretty big role in avalanche risk.  

big dumps of snow on existing snow can increase avalanche risk. weather fronts moving through with significant temperature changes can make the existing snow surface freeze or melt, and new snow on top of that can shear off more easily. wind can blow large amounts of snow into overhanging masses of snow at the tops of slopes that can break off and cause an avalanche.  

11:39 a.m. on March 26, 2020 (EDT)
Alicia MacLeay @Alicia
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Sounds like a good article, Andrew.

It jogged my memory that I read this one in Ski magazine about how avalanche education is changing:

Rethinking Avalanche Education

The goals are fewer fatalities among snow science professionals and more options for recreational skiers.

If you’ve ever looked at an ice crystal through a loupe, you know that snow science is a complicated, multifaceted field, with an overwhelming amount to learn. In the past, educators have struggled to cram the appropriate knowledge, skills, and science in avalanche education classes taken by those who recreate in the mountains during winter. But that’s now changing. In the first major update to the structure and focus of avalanche education in the U.S., avalanche education has been split into two tracks—one for recreational skiers and one for avalanche professionals—each designed to teach the targeted group the things they need to know to be safe on snow.....

https://www.skimag.com/adventure/avalanche-education-splits-into-two-tracks

5:08 a.m. on March 27, 2020 (EDT)
whomeworry
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And speaking of snow: Alta reports 7" new snow on a 11' base.  Yet they must close due to the pandemic, the agony of it!

They've had avalanches over the years that came into the "village" area.  One blasted the Snowbird resort, blowing out windows and collapsing structures.

Ed

6:59 a.m. on March 27, 2020 (EDT)
andrew f. @leadbelly2550
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whomeworry said:

And speaking of snow: Alta reports 7" new snow on a 11' base.  Yet they must close due to the pandemic, the agony of it!

They've had avalanches over the years that came into the "village" area.  One blasted the Snowbird resort, blowing out windows and collapsing structures.

Ed

 My nephew is.out there, hiking up and skiing down. That's a lot.of uphill vertical for a few runs, but he seems.to be enjoying.it.  

May 25, 2020
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