Interesting article about avi control at Sochi . . .

Topics of a general nature regarding snowsports, which don't easily fit into one of our other Liftlines categories. This is also the place to post Letters to the Editor.

Interesting article about avi control at Sochi . . .

Postby flyover » Tue Dec 03, 2013 11:53 am ... sports&hpw

Rosa Khutor is so new — parts are still under construction — that there is little understanding of the likelihood and danger of snowslides. The first avalanche studies of the area were conducted in 2008, after Sochi was awarded the Olympics and just as construction of the resort began in earnest.

. . . .

The experts found that conditions for avalanches were nearly perfect.

“Rose Khutor is a challenging zone with many large and steep slopes,” the paper said. “This terrain is near the Black Sea and receives extreme precipitation that can lead to large and dangerous avalanche cycles.”

. . . .

Jean-Louis Tuaillon, Rosa Khutor’s mountain manager, hired largely for his expertise in avalanche mitigation at several western European resorts . . . and other avalanche experts long pleaded with Russian officials to let them use a fuller arsenal of mitigation techniques familiar to ski patrols at Western resorts — mainly, hand-tossed charges for specific trouble spots, and the Avalancheur, a cannonlike device that shoots charges into the mountainside from long range.

The Russians said no. They wanted no explosives in civilian areas, they explained, perhaps concerned about charges that did not detonate or large stashes of grenadelike bombs. Rosa Khutor sits just a few miles from the border with Georgia, and the Caucasus Mountains are home to anti-Russian extremists.

Last spring, after many demonstrations and much discussion took place, Tuaillon was told that he could use a specific type of charge (its two components, stored separately, are useless unless mixed) and one Avalancheur.

. . . .

“Honestly, I don’t think the danger is big,” Tuaillon said. “But like anywhere in the world, you can have crazy weather. And it is the mountains.”
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