Wednesday, January 6, 2010

GREAT skiing


for once i completely agree with the incredibly fantastical ski reports (sometimes obnoxiously so, in my opinion) of Big Dave.  that was some classic big mountain powder.  fun all day!!

i will say, the crowds on chair one that lasted until 11:30 seemed more like jackson hole, or aspen, then here.  but once hellroaring was opened, well you know. 

so i spent the AM on chair two. i just couldn't deal with the crowd.  skied some old tree lines that so often go ignored.  skied the line where i first understood that i MA was a keeper, as she was right behind me, turn for turn.  then i got in what turned out to be second tracks down the chair 11 (ahem, 8?) lift line.  outsmarted as i understand by one Cam.  it was great, even though a bit more hollywood than i normally prefer.  but super fun.

i got to ski with a ton of different people, so typical of a powder day here, as keeping track of more than one is near impossible.  and one thing for sure is: 
There are a ton of GREAT women skiers here. 
don't get me wrong, but when i first moved here, there were only a handful of good women skiers, very few of whom could keep up on such great powder days.  NOW, they are setting the pace.  and i love it.  chasing courtney, jen (all of them), morgan or any other woman is way more fun that chasing a friel, kelly or wally. 

while on chair two, i rode over a couple stopped hillside for a phone call.  after a run off in the trees (ie not that fast), there they were, still on the phone, one waiting while the other talked.  and the waiter did not look all too happy.  friends on a powder day?  i think not!

anyway, some wind transport  and cold temps may make for some different conditions.  forest service guys are saying considerable and above 5500', and human caused avalanches probable.  this is before the wind. so while i did hear a very favorable report from a highly reliable source, for the canyon and chicken bones, ski with continued care.  we don't need anymore lost skis, broken ribs, or worse. 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I tried to post this yesterday and thought it posted- a good, and tragic lesson in spatial variability. Just tried to post it again as an active link- no luck. Copy and paste into browser window- sorry 'bout that. Have fun and be safe. Ted.

  3. A good text based article on the Scotch Bonnet avalanche incident... Ted.

    BRETT FRENCH Of The Gazette Staff | Posted: Monday, January 4, 2010 6:30 am

    A 33-year-old Billings man killed in an avalanche near Cooke City had apparently gotten stuck and was trying to free his snowmobile when the slide erupted, according to Eric Knoff, of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center in Bozeman.

    Members of the avalanche center are investigating the incident today. Until they issue a full report, details are sparse. The man’s name and cause of death has not yet been released by the Park County coroner.

    The Billings man was riding on the south-facing slope of 10,382-foot Scotch Bonnet Mountain near the head of Lulu Pass when the avalanche occurred at about noon, according to Knoff. The snowmobiler was apparently about three-quarters of the way up the mountain when he got stuck, he said.

    “Apparently there were a lot of tracks on the adjacent slope,” he said. “That’s kind of a false indicator that things are stable.”

    Scotch Bonnet is roughly 5 miles northwest of Cooke City in the Beartooth Mountains. It is a popular play area for snowmobilers and backcountry skiers. The attraction is large mountains with lots of snow that, in many places, are free of trees.

    The area had received 12 to 14 inches of new snow on New Year’s Day. That snow was on top of a thick slab of hard snow, but underneath a layer of unstable sugary snow prompted the center to issue a warning for high avalanche dan-ger in the mountains surrounding Cooke City.

    “It’s just a really bad combination,” Knoff said.

    The avalanche released about 2 feet deep and 100 feet wide on a slope about 35 degrees steep, Knoff said. The snow slid about 500 vertical feet. The snowmobiler was found about 45 minutes after the avalanche occurred near the base of a tree. Attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

    According to the Park County Sheriff’s Office, the victim was riding with another snowmobiler when the avalanche occurred. The victim was wearing an avalanche beacon, which helps searchers locate where they are buried. The sher-iff’s office said the victim was found by his partner. Cooke City’s emergency response team arrived by 1:16 p.m. but could not revive the snowmobiler.

    The incident was the second avalanche fatality of the winter season in Montana. The first occurred when an ice climber in Hyalite Canyon area south of Bozeman was killed on Dec. 10. Nationally there have been four avalanche fatalities, including the two in Montana. Last season there were 27 avalanche fatalities in the United States, three in Montana all on Jan. 17, 2009, and five in Wyoming. Out of the 27 fatalities last year, 16 were snowmobilers.