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RE: [snowkiteidaho] avalanches

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  • Darrel Thomas
    REI also does one every year Darrel Thomas Mobile Thai Massage Darrelthomas@cableone.net 208-484-6766 May you be well, May
    Message 1 of 6 , Jan 1, 2009

      REI also does one every year



      Darrel Thomas


      Mobile Thai Massage




      “May you be well, May you be happy, may you be at peace.”


      From: snowkiteidaho@yahoogroups.com [mailto:snowkiteidaho@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Whitney Rearick
      Sent: Thursday, January 01, 2009 12:20 PM
      To: snowkiteidaho@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [snowkiteidaho] avalanches


      I took an avalanche class at BSU a few years ago, and it was great.  They're offering it again this year.  It's very affordable and only two days, designed for the nonprofessional who just needs a basic understanding of how avalanches work, how to avoid them, and how to survive and help others if one occurs.  Highly recommended.  Check the BSU Rec Center's Outdoor Center website to find the when and where...am sure it's coming up soon and fills up fast.



      From: Darrel Thomas <darrelthomas@...>
      To: snowkiteidaho@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 3:39:23 PM
      Subject: RE: [snowkiteidaho] avalanches

      I have been taking an avalanche course through my wife’s ski patrol group over the last couple weeks, and have been meaning to post a little word to the group on the subject.


      The snow pack in the back country around here is just as unstable, and it is expected to remain so for most of the year.  Our late, cold snow will be a persistent weakness until spring thaw restructures the entire pack.


      As we kiters become more advanced, we become more daring, seeking more challenging terrain and higher adventures, which takes us into areas of greater and greater risk.  Climbing over mountains and shredding cornices.  Being aware of the increased avalanche hazard is important to ensure we do not start a new list of statistical  idiots in the back country seeking our own Darwin awards.


      Here’s a few things to keep in mind:


      Most avalanches occur on slope angles between 30 and 45 degrees, with the “sweet spot” being about 37 degrees. 


      97% of avalanches that result in human burials are human caused.


      Most avalanches that matter are “slab” avalanches, which is a slab of more consolidated snow sitting on top of a weak layer.  Additional loading causes the weakness to collapse and the slab to release.  Slabs can be HUGE.  If you are kiting around and you hear a “whoomp,” that is weak layer collapsing under the slab you are skiing on top of.  You can even be on the flats next a hill and have cracks propagate up onto the slope, triggering an avalanche.


      An avalanche does not have to be big to kill you.  Just enough to burry you.  A small slide into a gully could dump several feet of snow on top of you.


      Slabs will tend to develop on the lee (downwind) side of a hill.  Which is good, since we tend to kite the windward side of things, but keep in mind that we typically get wind from the SE followed by wind from the NW and vice versa, so where we kite today may have been the lee side yesterday.


      Even some of the brightest and most trained people traveling in the back country have been killed by avalanches.  Frequently as a result of their hubris getting the better of them and pushing the envelope of safety beyond the limits to get that extra little piece of thrill.


      If you plan on getting off the flats and into the hills, take some time and familiarize yourself with avalanche safety.  At least grab a book on avalanche safety.   Oh yeah…, AND READ IT!


      I don’t personally think that we all need to be running around with probes shovels and beacons, but we need to be aware of the potential hazards, and have some idea of what they look like before we find out the hard way.  Remember that slide in Fairfield a few years back that buried that house and killed the people inside?  That was right in our backyard and on just the kind of terrain we like to ride!


      Check out www.avalanche. org  you can get the Sun Valley and McCall avalanche reports, as well as get additional information on avalanches.  Current Sun Valley report: http://www.avalanch e.org/~svavctr/ adv_current. php



      All of those who have died in avalanches so far this year have left families and loved ones behind to bare the grief of tragic loss.  Regardless of who they are and how they lived their lives, they deserve our respect and to their loved ones our condolences.  We can honor them by heeding the warnings their tragic loss heralds.  


      May all of us, and all  the people we care about, as well as everyone who seeks to embrace the fullness of life by whatever means have a safe and adventurous new year!


      Darrel Thomas


      Mobile Thai Massage

      Darrelthomas@ cableone. net



      “May you be well, May you be happy, may you be at peace.”


      From: snowkiteidaho@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:snowkiteida ho@yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of Whitney Rearick
      Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 9:07 AM
      To: snowkiteidaho@ yahoogroups. com
      Subject: [snowkiteidaho] avalanches


      Hey there -


      In case you're traveling and plan on hitting the alpine slopes, here are some posts from another listserv.  On the other hand, maybe natural selection is finally weeding out those dopes on snowmobiles:


      "3 snowmobiles in UT in the last few days have died in avalanches. Teenager near Kamas, UT was the latest fatality yesterday. Be careful out there.

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: konagal77
      To: idahowhitewater@ yahoogroups. com
      Sent: 2008-12-29 21:38
      Subject: [idahowhitewater] Re: JH

      --- In idahowhitewater@ yahoogroups. com, "Laura" <kos-howe@.. .> wrote:
      > For all you idaho boaters/skiers interested in Jackson Hole, big
      > slides going on over there. Besides the death the other day, today is
      > another bad day. The headwall slid this morning, I don't think it had
      > slid significantly since a major one in '86. I don't know how far it
      > went down the mountain, but it blew through a mid-mountain chalet.
      > Rumor also has it other on-area bowls have slid. No real information
      > yet on people, other than no reported fatalities. It happened before
      > the mountain opened.

      The whole backcountry from Colorado to Utah and BC has been currently
      described at " plywood sheets on top of ball bearing". 8 snowmobilers
      with beacons were buried yesterday up near Fernie ( 3 survived). A
      skier died in an in bound slide at Snowbird last week, and those are
      just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. Be careful out there.



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