As promissed, we did get to Pinecone Ridge this morning and we DID get the whole ridge open for y'all by 11, but not without alot of work and a couple large avalanches. If anyone has any doubt about the avalanche danger of the last couple days and our reasoning for keeping the area closed, just check out these pictures of Homelight. The avalanche was released with explosives before we opened and pulled out all the new snow across most of the bowl. The debris pile ran well past the aspens into what is often thought of as "the safe zone." Better than looking at pictures, the area will be open again tomorrow (conditions permitting), so I'd say hike on out and take a look for yourselves. The slide is very impressive in person (and the powder sking along the edges ain't too bad either)!
If there is anyone out there who is feeling like there's no worry in the backcountry right now, a giant avalanche released naturally off Scott's Peak (beyond our boundary just northwest of Pinecone Ridge) at some point yesterday during the storm. I managed to get a good picture of that today as well. We're estimating it to be at least 600 feet wide and 3-4 feet deep.
Both these avlanches fall in that "unsurvivable" catagory and remind us that the snowpack in uncontrolled backcountry terrain is questionable at best and potentially downright deadly in some spots (specifially steep, east and northeast facing slopes). With a new storm set to move in tomorrow afternoon with high winds and a foot or more of new snow, things will remain dicey. I'd anticipate we will be doing snow safety work Monday and that areas of the upper mountain will again be closed. Enjoy the sunshine tomorrow and please be patient with our control teams during and after the storm. Your patience will certainly be rewarded with more good days of powder riding and skiing!
Originally from the Pocono’s of Pennsylvania, Travis found his way to Park City three years ago and is now our grooming manager. When not in snowcat you can find him skiing or snowmobiling in the Utah backcountry or enjoying the skiing here at Park City Mountain Resort.