2009 is officially underway, and Colorado’s snowpack is in shambles. The recent winds and heat that has made the weather in Denver so nice has resulted in extreme wind-scouring and refreeze. Even worse is that there remain serious deep instabilities in the pack that may be here all season. Friends of Berthoud Pass’ on-snow avalanche course is next weekend, so hopefully we’ll get a good dumping through the week to make things more enjoyable and educational.
Two people died in in-bounds slides (although both in terrain closed for avalanche danger) at Whistler/Blackcomb in two days – one on NYE and one on NYD. This season is highlighting the danger of the mountains, as even places once considered safe are proving their unpredictability.
I went to Keystone yesterday for the first turns of the year, and really wish I’d stayed home and slept in instead. The snow was very hard due to the recent winds and heat, and there were many areas of glare ice, dirt, rocks, and grass sticking out through the middle of their supposedly-31″ base. I hate that place. I forget why every so often, and I’m quickly reminded every time I go back.