Powder for the People

We didn’t get any new snow overnight, and I’m exhausted after 4 days of hard charging, so am taking a day off skiing to rest and reflect. I won’t minimize the challenge of managing risk on a mountain as hazardous as Granite, and I certainly appreciate how a ‘soft’ closure of most of the terrain on Granite provides endless untracked lines for a few locals, but most effectively managing the snow-pack requires a more proactive strategy than simply roping off everything and waiting until the 28th to run the regular control routes. For the skiing to be as great as it could (surely our shared purpose), we simply needed more skier traffic on more terrain. The low density snow we received prior to Dec 27th required skier compaction to stabilize and create a base for the more typical higher density snow we’re getting now. A few of us tried to put in all the essential traverses and hit as many of our favorite lines as possible prior to the 27th, and yesterday (with 20cm of heavy new snow) it was only those very lines that were ski-able. Otherwise, the upside-down snow-pack (heavy snow on top of light) was and may remain absurdly difficult to ski. Some critical lines, such as Short Squaw (Booty’s) didn’t receive any skier traffic (due to initial bombing) and became so critically unstable with the new heavy snow that it has now slid down to bare rock, and will not be ski-able for the foreseeable future. Other resorts utilize progressive measures such as: beacon checks to vet access, manual packing to stabilize slopes, and prescriptive targeted control programs to balance safety with snow retention, and we should too. I know change is difficult for some, but it’s about time Red staff and management engages in a conversation about more effective policies regarding opening terrain and stability management. 


Filed under Red Mountain

4 responses to “Powder for the People

  1. Tim J

    You are right on. Good blog. Tim

  2. yeah

    you are alway complaining. Worst than a little girl.

    • “Just let me go, we have to be able to criticize what we love, to say what we have to say ’cause if you’re not trying to make something better, then as far as I can tell, you are just in the way.”- Ani DiFranco

      Welcome back Francois, I’ve missed your always candid commentary.


  3. pete

    happy new year everybody. when the swell is large and they shut a “managed beach” it is considered dangerous for the average punter but prime time for the experienced.

    Like most sports involving an element of adventure the most dangerous part of skiing is probably the driving involved to access the fun.

    We do it for the freedom. The corporations are only worried about bad press in the event of a death. Bury me quietly and I won’t tell.



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