Breaking news on mainstream skiing websites (that I peruse over coffee most mornings) is the death of professional skiing stuntman Jamie Pierre in an avalanche while snowboarding pre-season in Snowbird ski resort terrain. Most famous for pancaking a 255’ cliff drop into the record books, he of the “Jesus is watching over me” pronouncements seemed a bit flakey to me, but is being lauded post-mortem as a kind and mellow character. I just read through the Utah avalanche centre report on the incident, both out of morbid curiosity and to learn what I can apply to to my own travels in the mountains. I’m shocked. It can be unfair to harshly judge another’s actions in hindsight, but from what has been reported for Pierre and his partner to:
1. Not check the avalanche conditions report (which rated danger as considerable to high) before heading out.
2. Not perform any snow stability tests.
3. Ignore that there had been 10”-19” of fresh snow in the past 2 days, with strong winds.
4. Ignore multiple skier triggered avalanches occuring in the vicinity.
5. Ignore the large avalanche that they remotely triggered while boot-packing to their line of descent.
6. Not carry any snow safety equipment.
7. Drop into a 40 degree avalanche chute, that released immediately, killing Pierre.
Methinks a fitting cantidate for the Darwin awards, but for that he tragically leaves behind 2 kids.