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The Avalanche Thread 22/23

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Seem to recall we had one going in previous years so thought I might kick this one off.

There has already been reports of skier trigged slides out in Utah and Colorado this season - haven't heard of any Euro ones yet - we need the snow!

I have seen some new tech :

A device that is meant to draw O2 from the snow pack to deal with CO2 build-up during burial - the difference with this and an ava-lung is that you don't need to insert a mouthpiece into your mouth - set to launch 23/24
https://www.safeback.no/sbx#sbx-info

Another gadget that is meant to help you find your ski when it releases in powder, though this one is being marketed as able to "prevent avalanches" - how you might ask? sending some cutting edge ultrasonic waves into the snowpack - like those anti shark surfing devices? No no - this device is also meant to provide feedback on your skiing technique and since 90% of avlanches are skier triggered - so by improving your technique and being "less aggressive" you will not trigger an avalanche - I mean I get that there is truth in that - but to market the device as preventing avalanches is a bit of a stretch!
https://tinyurl.com/2xkms72a

Lastly I leave you with some great footage released earlier this week of a slide in St Anton from winter '22

http://youtube.com/v/f0guMRp1gVQ
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@extremerob, that guy makes some fab videos!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
FWIW:

Observation area: Val Thorens, 10th November 2022
Observer: Meteo France Bourg St Maurice

There is a good base from 2700 meters on north facing bowls composed of round crystals.
At 2850m there is over 80cm of total snow depth with a marked instability at 10 to 15 cm below the surface. (Compression Test).

It rained to 2500m with humidification due to temperatures to 2850m. Snow from early November is transforming into facets and acts as a fragile layer > 2850 m approx with about 15cm of fresh snow on top which fell with no wind, which limits the risks. Very poor snow cover for the season. Return via pistes on man made snow.

---

My comments: take care off piste below 2700m approx unless there is a a major dumpage (doesn't look likely next week). Risk of avalanche at altitude with the recent wind creating some thin windslab on cols/ridges on a wide northerly aspect. Lower down the humidification of the snowpack has stabilized everything for now - well what snow there is. You'll see the above observations have fed into the current bulletin.
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TLDR: take care, risk of some small to medium slabs above 2500m where there is skiable snow on north facing slopes

Observation Area: les Arcs, 18 Nov 2022
Observer: Meteo France Bourg St Maurice

Conditions: Sprinkling of snow this morning at 1600m, 15 cm of fresh at 2000m, 20 cm on average around 2500m but very heterogeneous thickness (5cm on the bumps at 50 cm in the accumulations).

Below 2400/2500m The fresh snow is resting on a small refreeze crust in the valleys and on the northern slopes, often on bare ground elsewhere.
Above 2600m on the shaded slopes, the snowpack is more substantial but also more complex, weaknesses are present with Woufs as warnings that should not be overlooked. Survey done at the level of a first Wouf on the North side around 2750m at the level of the last wall before the arrival station of the Grand Col chairlift. The slab comes off very easily in the stability test with a very clear break on 25 cm on the first test and 40 cm a little further but still on the 5th tap with a fragile layer on the small flat side. The risk of triggering a soft slab avalanche is therefore very present at high altitude on cold slopes. Overall few places concerned but are also the best covered in snow so beware because it is also the only skiable ones at the moment when the snow cover remains poor.
Second climb to the foot of Aiguille Grive with similar conditions. On the descent pleasant snow which still catches the back of the skis a little. You must always stay on the tracks or grassy slopes because outside the snow cover remains too light. Very blown at high altitude from what I could see
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
take care with that early season resort touring, the pistes are neither avalanche controlled nor compacted



https://fb.watch/g_Vx3NpniL/
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You'll need to Register first of course.
A guide died in an avalanche in the Queyras a week or so ago, but I believe he was climbing rather than skiing.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Couple hit by an avalanche ski touring l'alpe d'Huez today. Considerable avalanche risk. Probably the end of the season for the man who has a fractured femur.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Is this the start of another catastrophic season? I'm thinking complex early snow pack and lots of Persistent weak layer. I sincerely hope I am wrong.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@Rogerdodger, am I correct in saying only if it's a dry year?, With a good cover that PWL will bridge. I was on an avi course on the stubai gletscher last week. sugar snow 150mm thick formed trom the ground up to a 10mm thick rain crust. with circa 30cm on top
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Rogerdodger wrote:
Is this the start of another catastrophic season? I'm thinking complex early snow pack and lots of Persistent weak layer. I sincerely hope I am wrong.


Way too early to say - depends a lot on weather for the next few weeks.

As to yesterday's incident - there was also an avalanche in Cime de Caron area (Val Thorens), 1 person buried and recovered relatively unscathed (as I understand it) - luckily, as skiing alone and pisteurs wre able to spot a hand/fingers sticking out of the snow. However: first blue sky day after quite a lot of new precip + wind (a fair bit of rain/snow here the last few days), Saturday, early season thin snow pack, everyone champing at the bit to get after it... not really too surprising...
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
I was on a course doing burial training on Saturday. I was using a Mammut Barryvox, bought about a year ago, as were a couple of others in the group. The instructor was using a Barryvox S, which also gave me some confidence. Once the Barryvox found a signal, it locked on and gave good, clear directional information, and the burials were found quickly. Some other people had older transceiver models (various brands, Ortovox, Pieps etc.) and it was noticeable that their searches were a lot more erratic. They were still well within their time limits, but there did seem to be more time wasted going in the wrong direction or around in circles.

Anyone using an old 2-antenna model should get their wallet out immediately (you know who you are!), but people using decade-old 3-antenna models should also consider upgrading, as improvements have definitely been made.

Another interesting point that came out was that one person had the highly rated Ortovox Voice device. Nothing really wrong with it, however, it soon became quite annoying, especially to a trained user who could act faster than the instructions were given. It's something worth considering if you are looking at this model.
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