There's no doubt we just went through a significant storm cycle; over 2 feet at the summit and nearly 3 feet in Jupiter. More importantly, this snow contained 3 inches of water; a definite red flag in the avalanche forecasting world. And as you may know, we've seen some incredible avalanches around the resort over the last few days. Many of these slides were triggered remotely as our control teams were working. And most of these slides would have been unsurvivable.
Looking down on Pioneer Lift
At times like this it is most critical to emphasize the importance of our closures. While we try to get to everything eventually, we obviously concentrate on ensuring the safety of guests and team members in our open terrain. There were many avalanches throughout the western resorts over the weekend and tragically, 3 deaths in Colorado. All three of these incidents involved guests entering closed terrain or going just out of bounds. This link takes you to the accident investigations and news articles: http://avalanche.org/accidents.php. We feel a bit lucky to have escaped the cycle (so far) without a local incident. That's not saying we didn't come close; we caught several guests in closed areas that certainly could have avalanched.
Rhino Bowl (slide was remotely triggered by the snowcat driving up the ridge)
In terms of terrain that we have yet to open, Jupiter Peak has slid to the point where there isn't enough snow left for safe skiing and riding and many of the areas serviced by Jupiter Lift are in similar shape. We are working the Jupiter area again today, but it may take awhile longer before we are able to safely open this terrain.
PLEASE spread the word; this snowpack, these conditions are nothing to screw around with. In my 25 years of patrolling and 6 years in the snow safety department I have never experienced activity like this. Tell your friends and family to honor our closures because our number one goal in this department is to see that each day everyone makes it home.
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.