Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Dark Side Of Snow

Snow. This same thing that captured my heart has an entirely dark, evil side. This thing I'm speaking of is called the avalanche. Avalanches come in all shapes and sizes and can be classified into a number of different types. We just got home from an avalanche workshop put on by some very knowledgable individuals. My favorite speaker was Kent Scheler, the lead guide and avalanche expert for TGR. If you're not familiar, TGR (Teton Gravity Research) produces progressive, cutting edge ski, snowboard, and surf films. Some of their recent well known films include Jeremy Jones' Deeper, Jeremy Jones' Further, Dream Factory, and One for the Road. That's just a handful of the amazing work they've produced. So yeah, they are a pretty big deal in the snowsports industry, and I've been a fan for years.

Anyways, Kent was very informative about the importance of being aware of the dangers and risks of an avalanche. He also got into detail about the technical side of filming, the side you don't see or think about when you watch the TGR films. It takes hours of planning and preparation before the rider ever steps foot onto the snow. These mountains mean business, and learning about avalanche safety is on the top of our list. 

There were a few more amazing speakers that touched on several different topics, from weather and science to smart decisions in the backcountry to what it actually takes to open a ski area after a major snow event. I can't thank these folks enough for the information they've enlightened me with tonight, and I'm super excited to learn more about every aspect of avalanche safety. 

Although they usually aren't major, Juneau is very prone to avalanches near the city. 
Photo of an avalanche engulfing downtown Juneau in 1972.

An avalanche overtaking Thane Rd.
We can see this area from our apartment.

Eaglecrest Ski Patrol works hard to control avalanche danger. In this shot of West Bowl, a fracture line is visible where a large slab avalanche was set off by a charge to clear the area for skiers and riders.

Aside from avalanche talk, we did participate in the lift evac training today at Eaglecrest. Dustin and I both got to hitch a ride on a rope down from lift chairs twice, which turned out to be pretty fun! (as long as it's not happening for real)

There was also a bloodborne pathogens class we attended, which was mostly just common sense on how to handle bodily fluids during an emergency. We met a lot of new, very cool people today and I can't wait to get this season started!

Please note that I do not take credit for any of the photos featured in this post.  

No comments:

Post a Comment