Friday, February 1, 2008

Coming Home to Powder

In less than an hour, SIA08 comes to a close, and we’ll begin the final teardown of the tradeshow season. The anticipation and anxiousness is building rapidly though, as we’ve continued to follow the snow conditions in the Northwest. Since Monday, over 6 feet of snow has fallen at our home hill of Alpental, all sitting unskied as I-90 up to Snoqualmie Pass has been closed since Tuesday due to large natural and controlled avalanches and heavy snow that has yet to let up. After evaluating the road and conditions this morning, the Washington DOT has decided to keep it closed until at least tonight to undergo massive avalanche mitigation measures.

From the WSDOT blog:
It’s the same story it’s been all week -- the avalanche risk is still too great. 19 more inches of snow have fallen on Snoqualmie Pass in the past 24 hours, bringing the season total to 347 inches. Craig Wilbour, WSDOT’s avalanche expert, says he’s seeing historic levels of avalanche risk along I-90. In fact, the avalanche control workload is so massive right now we’ve had to call in reinforcements from the Alpental and West Summit ski resorts to help out. We’re also bringing in more snow blowers from all over the state.

To give you an idea of the firepower it takes to control these avalanches – as of Jan. 31, avalanche crews have detonated 3,650 pounds of explosives (152 individual shots). They’ve also fired off 36 rounds from the 105mm Recoilless rifle.

Video from Wednesday of a slide crossing the road sheds well down the east side of Snoqualmie Pass:

We’re all itching to get back home tomorrow and get as many turns in as we can over the weekend, because it’s been a long time coming. Still, a reminder of caution to everyone going out this weekend: With natural releases along the I-90 corridor and an incredible volume of new snow over some buried weak layers from last week, do not let the temptation of faceshots lure you into dangerous terrain in the backcountry. Check the forecast, let things stabilize where they haven’t been controlled, think safety, and use extraordinary levels of caution. There’s a ton of new snow, and plenty of time to ski it. We’ll see you out there soon.

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