Zermatt, Switz., Feb. 9, 2014

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Re: Zermatt, Switz., Feb. 9, 2014

Postby ChrisC » Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:05 pm

Father - I need to make a confession...

I too have skied off-piste in Cervinia without a guide, digging an avy pit, hiking the terrain the summer before, understanding where all the convex rollovers are located, etc. Very bad, very very bad.

It was July 1st in Cervinia - and the avalanche scale was a 2 out of 5.

I likely need to say a few thousand Our Father's, couple hundred Hail Mary's, maybe a Frosty the Snowman or two

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Zermatt


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Cervinia 2


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Cervinia1


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Cervinia 3


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Zermatt 2
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Re: Zermatt, Switz., Feb. 9, 2014

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Feb 24, 2014 12:01 am

socal wrote:Im kinda interested in this myself. I mean if you truly can't ski offtrail safely in Europe without avalanche gear, knowledge, and/or a guide its basically of no interest to me.

Admin probably has no interest either, since he skis groomed runs here only under duress.

The serious answer to socal's question is that guided skiing in Europe will cost $150-$200 per day. Whether it's worth that is a personal decision. IMHO ski experiences like Valle Blanche, the Schwarztor and La Grave (which I suspect would appeal to socal) are sufficiently unique to be worth extra cost.

James has made it quite clear from his reports that noncompetitive powder skiing is a key attraction to him in the Alps. His pics seem to be from mostly intermediate pitched slopes with likely low avalanche hazard. Many of mine are similar, but I admitted in my last post that I pushed the envelope in a few instances. I'm sorry if this confession of sin was insufficiently contrite for admin.
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Re: Zermatt, Switz., Feb. 9, 2014

Postby jamesdeluxe » Mon Feb 24, 2014 6:05 am

Tony Crocker wrote:James has made it quite clear from his reports that noncompetitive powder skiing is a key attraction to him in the Alps. His pics seem to be from mostly intermediate pitched slopes with likely low avalanche hazard.

Correct, unless I'm with a local who knows the terrain and understands what I'm comfortable skiing.

I also use my x-ray spex to keep an eye on those pesky convex rollovers. 8)
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Re: Zermatt, Switz., Feb. 9, 2014

Postby Admin » Mon Feb 24, 2014 8:28 am

Admin wrote:May I suggest an Avalanche Level I course while you're here next month?
http://utahavalanchecenter.org/provider/level-1-3
If Tyson is teaching that course (and I presume that he is) you'll learn a ton. I'll even go so far as to take it with you, for reinforcement is a good thing. How serious are you about acquiring some mountain awareness? The ball's in your court.
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Re: Zermatt, Switz., Feb. 9, 2014

Postby Marc_C » Mon Feb 24, 2014 10:28 am

jamesdeluxe wrote:I also use my x-ray spex to keep an eye on those pesky convex rollovers. 8)

Ha ha. That's hilarious.
Around 2005-ish some snowboarders went into Dutch Draw, just over the ropeline from the top of the 9990 lift at The Canyons. Enticing, pitifully easy access. used to be one of the major runs when heliskiing was allowed to drop off on the Park City ridge line. This was on a day rated as "moderate" avi danger. One boarder was the 5th person of the group to go down, but the slope had been skied by a few other parties previous to theirs, so some tracks, but hardly skied out. It would have looked much like Tony's pic of his solo deep powder run. The slide broke 5' deep about 100' verts above the boarder, with the resultant crown 2500' wide and it ran over 1K'. The (beaconless) boarder's body was dug out from under 10' of snow the next day once it was deemed safe enough. The main slide went down the center of the bowl - both sides released sympathetically and propagated to the top of the ridge line. The trigger was when he center-punched the bowl, going over and getting air off a roll-over. Everyone else wisely avoided this obvious weak spot in the snowpack.

You don't need x-ray specs to see this and you don't have to be cavalier and snide about the warning. This is avi basics 101.

[Disclaimer: relating this from memory, so some of the details may be sketchy, but the slide trigger and the key learnings are accurate.]
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Re: Zermatt, Switz., Feb. 9, 2014

Postby Admin » Fri Feb 28, 2014 7:28 am

Admin wrote:May I suggest an Avalanche Level I course while you're here next month?
http://utahavalanchecenter.org/provider/level-1-3
If Tyson is teaching that course (and I presume that he is) you'll learn a ton. I'll even go so far as to take it with you, for reinforcement is a good thing. How serious are you about acquiring some mountain awareness? The ball's in your court.


Well, you've started or replied to a good dozen other topics since I first posted that, yet your hubris has allowed you to completely ignore multiple instances of that quote. That's most unfortunate.

As you have no desire to become better informed about your own safety and that of your ski companions (yours truly included), I no longer have any desire to lead you anywhere outside of a ski area boundary. It's that simple.
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Re: Zermatt, Switz., Feb. 9, 2014

Postby jamesdeluxe » Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:52 am

Didn't you hear? He hired Tyson for a series of private courses and commissioned Bruce Tremper for a new book customized to Tony's terrain and snow preferences!
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Re: Zermatt, Switz., Feb. 9, 2014

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:24 am

I remember reading about the Dutch Draw incident when it happened but not the details of how it was triggered.

Mustang had a sketchy snowpack this year due to 5 feet of new snow falling in a week after a rare extended dry spell. The pic below of Centurion Bowl was probably the most exposed area we skied in 3 days.
IMG_5785.JPG

The guide set the boundary track with all of us following one at a time and skiing to the left as viewed from below here. Above and to the right of his track you can see much more exposed snow than where we skied. Not in the picture is the gully below us. We regrouped up on its edge.

This sort of instruction is common on guided trips, and similar to what we did on Middle Finger at Snowbasin on Feb. 2. As Tseeb noted, that was a potentially sketchy area that we were forced to ski because we were too low to get over the rocks to the safer area skier's left which we navigated to on the second run after lunch. With a larger group on Patsy Marley and my usual straggling on tedious Alta traverses I may not have heard one-at-a-time instructions there on occasion.

I do not live in Utah, so am unlikely to give up LCC ski time when I'm there in winter. It would make more sense for me to take a course at Mammoth. My unguided time in the backcountry has nearly always been in late spring. Last year's Euro trip to some extent and this year's trip to a greater degree are rare occasions where I've been making decisions to ski powder in potentially uncontrolled terrain. I've admitted that some of those decisions may not have been well informed.

It's far from obvious to me in the Euro environment how to improve those decisions short of staying on-piste except when with a hired guide. James and I have both assumed that terrain near or above pistes or ski routes is controlled or the pistes would not be open.

admin wrote:you've started or replied to a good dozen other topics since I first posted that

I've observed that people want to see timely reports from ski days more than ongoing :snowball fight: . I've had a couple of offline e-mails suggesting that admin made his valid points but then moved into the :dead horse: phase. I should have replied:
I do not live in Utah, so am unlikely to give up LCC ski time when I'm there in winter. It would make more sense for me to take a course at Mammoth.

the first time.

admin wrote: I no longer have any desire to lead you anywhere outside of a ski area boundary.

Then your groups are going to be smaller, since some of your Utah local friends don't even own avy gear. I keep mine in the car, so was able to use it for that 2011 Alta closing day run in Devils' Castle for example. Yes, I should have brought it on the 4-day trip at the start of this month, and I do intend to wear it routinely in the Alps in the future.
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Re: Zermatt, Switz., Feb. 9, 2014

Postby socal » Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:37 am

Admin wrote:
Admin wrote:May I suggest an Avalanche Level I course while you're here next month?
http://utahavalanchecenter.org/provider/level-1-3
If Tyson is teaching that course (and I presume that he is) you'll learn a ton. I'll even go so far as to take it with you, for reinforcement is a good thing. How serious are you about acquiring some mountain awareness? The ball's in your court.


Well, you've started or replied to a good dozen other topics since I first posted that, yet your hubris has allowed you to completely ignore multiple instances of that quote. That's most unfortunate.

As you have no desire to become better informed about your own safety and that of your ski companions (yours truly included), I no longer have any desire to lead you anywhere outside of a ski area boundary. It's that simple.


I understand your feelings. I'm looking at this from the other side of things. Personally I wouldn't do anything outside the boundary without either a licensed guide or until I gain the knowledge to be able to understand the decisions that are being made and deciding on my own if I'm OK with where we are going.

I'm sure you don't recall but one day I was with your crew and you and a few others were headed out of Alta on a Low avalanche danger day. I declined, just not worth it

I have the utmost respect for the mountains and am generally not willing to just follow someone around when the risk of death is involved.

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Re: Zermatt, Switz., Feb. 9, 2014

Postby Admin » Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:43 am

Tony Crocker wrote: I do not live in Utah, so am unlikely to give up LCC ski time when I'm there in winter.


That's perhaps the most ignorant thing I've ever seen you post. Your priorities are jacked up. You want to ski untracked up to 50 days per year, often out of bounds at locations all around the world all season long (and burn through a boatload of cash in doing so), but you're unwilling to sacrifice two lift served days in exchange for two backcountry ski days in order to become better informed about mountain safety? Are you serious?

Tony Crocker wrote: It's far from obvious to me in the Euro environment how to improve those decisions


Nope, never mind - you just topped it. You really don't get it, do you? I've just handed you on a silver platter how to make better informed decisions, yet you can't figure out how you'd do that?

Tony Crocker wrote:
admin wrote: I no longer have any desire to lead you anywhere outside of a ski area boundary.

Then your groups are going to be smaller, since some of your Utah local friends don't even own avy gear. I keep mine in the car, so was able to use it for that 2011 Alta closing day run in Devils' Castle for example.


You apparently completely missed my point that avalanche gear is utterly useless without a head to avoid having to use it. Frankly, I don't give a [censored] whether or not you're wearing a beacon if you're going to unwittingly trigger a slide that's going to bury me.

I give up. You're hopeless.
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Re: Zermatt, Switz., Feb. 9, 2014

Postby Admin » Fri Feb 28, 2014 11:56 am

socal wrote:
Admin wrote:
Admin wrote:May I suggest an Avalanche Level I course while you're here next month?
http://utahavalanchecenter.org/provider/level-1-3
If Tyson is teaching that course (and I presume that he is) you'll learn a ton. I'll even go so far as to take it with you, for reinforcement is a good thing. How serious are you about acquiring some mountain awareness? The ball's in your court.


Well, you've started or replied to a good dozen other topics since I first posted that, yet your hubris has allowed you to completely ignore multiple instances of that quote. That's most unfortunate.

As you have no desire to become better informed about your own safety and that of your ski companions (yours truly included), I no longer have any desire to lead you anywhere outside of a ski area boundary. It's that simple.


I understand your feelings. I'm looking at this from the other side of things. Personally I wouldn't do anything outside the boundary without either a licensed guide or until I gain the knowledge to be able to understand the decisions that are being made and deciding on my own if I'm OK with where we are going.

I'm sure you don't recall but one day I was with your crew and you and a few others were headed out of Alta on a Low avalanche danger day. I declined, just not worth it

I have the utmost respect for the mountains and am generally not willing to just follow someone around when the risk of death is involved.


Frankly I think that were precisely on the same side of things. I'm in agreement with you 100%.
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Re: Zermatt, Switz., Feb. 9, 2014

Postby socal » Fri Feb 28, 2014 12:11 pm

Admin wrote:
socal wrote:
Admin wrote:[quote="Admin"]May I suggest an Avalanche Level I course while you're here next month?
http://utahavalanchecenter.org/provider/level-1-3
If Tyson is teaching that course (and I presume that he is) you'll learn a ton. I'll even go so far as to take it with you, for reinforcement is a good thing. How serious are you about acquiring some mountain awareness? The ball's in your court.


Well, you've started or replied to a good dozen other topics since I first posted that, yet your hubris has allowed you to completely ignore multiple instances of that quote. That's most unfortunate.

As you have no desire to become better informed about your own safety and that of your ski companions (yours truly included), I no longer have any desire to lead you anywhere outside of a ski area boundary. It's that simple.


I understand your feelings. I'm looking at this from the other side of things. Personally I wouldn't do anything outside the boundary without either a licensed guide or until I gain the knowledge to be able to understand the decisions that are being made and deciding on my own if I'm OK with where we are going.

I'm sure you don't recall but one day I was with your crew and you and a few others were headed out of Alta on a Low avalanche danger day. I declined, just not worth it

I have the utmost respect for the mountains and am generally not willing to just follow someone around when the risk of death is involved.


Frankly I think that were precisely on the same side of things. I'm in agreement with you 100%.[/quote]

Didn't mean other side of thinking, meant on the other side of the story. Meaning I'm the guy following not the guy being followed.

Either way I have no doubt we are generally in agreement.

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Re: Zermatt, Switz., Feb. 9, 2014

Postby coldsmoke » Fri Feb 28, 2014 2:12 pm

Admin wrote:
Tony Crocker wrote: I do not live in Utah, so am unlikely to give up LCC ski time when I'm there in winter.


That's perhaps the most ignorant thing I've ever seen you post. Your priorities are jacked up. You want to ski untracked up to 50 days per year, often out of bounds at locations all around the world all season long (and burn through a boatload of cash in doing so), but you're unwilling to sacrifice two lift served days in exchange for two backcountry ski days in order to become better informed about mountain safety? Are you serious?

Tony Crocker wrote: It's far from obvious to me in the Euro environment how to improve those decisions


Nope, never mind - you just topped it. You really don't get it, do you? I've just handed you on a silver platter how to make better informed decisions, yet you can't figure out how you'd do that?

Tony Crocker wrote:
admin wrote: I no longer have any desire to lead you anywhere outside of a ski area boundary.

Then your groups are going to be smaller, since some of your Utah local friends don't even own avy gear. I keep mine in the car, so was able to use it for that 2011 Alta closing day run in Devils' Castle for example.


You apparently completely missed my point that avalanche gear is utterly useless without a head to avoid having to use it. Frankly, I don't give a [censored] whether or not you're wearing a beacon if you're going to unwittingly trigger a slide that's going to bury me.

I give up. You're hopeless.


It is rather astonishing that someone can discuss endlessly the minutiae of when and where folks ski or even how they use their vacation time and then have an almost complete disregard for the most serious risk in this sport.
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Re: Zermatt, Switz., Feb. 9, 2014

Postby Tony Crocker » Sat Mar 01, 2014 10:27 am

I have been guided skiing in the backcountry over 100 days and am thus quite familiar with guide directions and the reasons for them, as illustrated in the Mustang example above. Thus it's unreasonable for admin to say
I don't give a [censored] whether or not you're wearing a beacon if you're going to unwittingly trigger a slide that's going to bury me.
,
implying that I'm more likely to bury him than his numerous other local and visiting ski partners with less guided experience.

coldsmoke wrote:have an almost complete disregard for the most serious risk in this sport.

Yes, that's why my first vacation trip after I retired was to the 5-day International Snow Science Workshop in Squaw Valley in October of 2010. Is this a substitute for a field course? No, but again it's more avalanche education than the vast majority of admin's ski partners have.

coldsmoke wrote:It is rather astonishing that someone can discuss endlessly the minutiae of when and where folks ski or even how they use their vacation time

This is the most insightful comment of yesterday's posts. After dispensing this advice over the years, some appreciated and some not, I'm an easy target for a topic where I'm less well informed.
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Re: Zermatt, Switz., Feb. 9, 2014

Postby Marc_C » Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:59 am

Tony Crocker wrote:This sort of instruction is common on guided trips, and similar to what we did on Middle Finger at Snowbasin on Feb. 2. As Tseeb noted, that was a potentially sketchy area that we were forced to ski because we were too low to get over the rocks to the safer area skier's left which we navigated to on the second run after lunch. With a larger group on Patsy Marley and my usual straggling on tedious Alta traverses I may not have heard one-at-a-time instructions there on occasion.

That's the entire point of this discussion and Admin beating on you - to get out of that "my life is in your hands" guided mentality. The huge problem is that bolded part above - on PM the areas that should be skied on at a time are very obvious - this is a basic avi skill that should not require a "guide" telling you one-at-a-time instructions.

Regarding the Snowbasin side country day (some discussion of which is in this thread):
1) +1 to tseeb's post
2) Based on the pics, the descriptions and discussions, the snowpack this season, recent conditions, and the avi advisory, I personally would not have gone back there that day without the entire party beeping and having recovery gear.

[Should this whole side discussion on avi considerations be split out into its own thread?]
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