Is it ever safe to ski steep north facing stuff in the Rockies?
LesC , Friday 2nd April, 2021 10:25PM
Tried to ski a steep, medium sized north facing feature today at 2300 m. 1st skier assessed for wind slab in the start zone and determined that wasn't an issue. Put in a couple of turns and had shooting cracks ~40 m around and up slope observed by the rest of the party at ridge crest. (snowpack was shallow and faceted. With the midpack "bridge" in this case just being a slab over basal facets) Suspect that the only thing that prevented an avalanche was the concave shape of the terrain and ground roughness. Skier exited the slope and the rest of the party found another way down to regroup. Lessons learned/relearned: -Everyone should have a radio. Only reason more people didn't go onto the slope was because cracking was observed. The wind prevented good communication. -you can live a long, happy life meadow skipping -warm days can wake up basal weaknesses
Weather conditions were: Warm, Windy. Riding quality was ok.
Avalache Conditions: Whumpfing or drum-like sounds or shooting cracks.