04 January 2009

Anderson Creek Back Country Ski Trip 4 January, 2009

Today was our first backcountry ski trip , not only of the year, but of the season. We did not get snow here until the last few weeks, and when we did get snow, we got several feet of powder with no base, so it has only recently stabilized to the point where we felt safe to ski.

We are very careful when we venture out into the backcountry. We monitor the avalanche reports daily, as well as the weather at the snotel sites where we like to ski. Snotel sites are weather data collection stations which are installed, operated, and maintained by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). They are an extensive, automated system to collect snowpack and related climatic data in the Western United States. They are called SNOTEL for SNOwpack TELemetry.

We also wear avalanche beacons, and carry shovels and probes, hoping we never have to use them! We tend to ski in areas that are less than 30 degrees in angle, as these areas are not likely to slide. As we start skinning in to the area we want to ski in, we also do beacon checks to make sure everybody's beacons are in working order. The couple we ski with are also very careful, and we have taken avalanche safety classes with them, so we all know what to do in an emergency.

Why do we go to all this trouble, when we can ski at the resort, and ride the lifts, and not have to worry about avalanche danger (on groomed runs)? Because there is nothing to compare with the splendors of the mountains and backcountry in the winter! The sun glistening off of the snow, the fresh alpine air, the quiet! It is amazing! As usual, I brought my camera, so I could share some of the beautiful country we saw with you.


1 comment:

Gosia DomaƄska said...

Pippi - I want to be with you there!!!