Think avalanches aren’t a threat on the East? Think again!
On Saturday, local backcountry skier Adam Popkin, got caught in a slide on the backside of Mount Mansfield that buried him up to his neck! Fortunately, he was skiing in a group and was not injured.
The event as told by Adam: (Thank you Adam for sharing this)
In case you’re thinking of heading out in the backcountry the next couple days, please be super careful! I was skinning in the Mt. Mansfield area today and was caught in a slide that nearly completely buried me. Luckily I was able to keep my head up and had friends with me. But please watch for signs! There is a ton of new snow in the mountains and it is forming a very unstable layer on top of a layer of frozen rain. There is a lot of energy and given a decent pitch, it will go. So if you’re out somewhere and you see any of the telltale cracks or hear whoomping noises, turn around and get out of there. Even tiny little rollovers that seem innocent can go and knock you against a tree or bury you. Again, I was just skinning across a fun looking glade with plenty of trees and it just took me out. Just because we don’t live out west doesn’t mean we can’t get caught.
Think of all the people who would be affected if you were to be seriously hurt or worse! Please spread the word.
Not the first place one would expect a slide to occur, but keep in mind that in the past 6 days, The Green, White and Adirondak mountains have received over 4′ of new snow. That’s a tremendous amount of energy sitting on top of a very firm snow pack that has undergone numerous freeze / thaw cycles over the course this mild winter.
The most recent update from the Mt. Washington Avalanche Center indicates avalanche danger is still high:
Tuckerman Ravine has CONSIDERABLE and MODERATE avalanche danger. The Sluice, Lip, Center Bowl, and Chute have Considerable avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are possible and human triggered avalanches are likely. Lobster Claw, Right Gully, Left Gully, Hillman’s Highway, and the Lower Snowfields have Moderate avalanche danger. Natural avalanches are unlikely and human triggered avalanches are possible. The Little Headwall has Low avalanche danger. Natural and human triggered avalanches are unlikely.
The skiing is great right now! With more storms forecasted in the coming days, it appears the best is still to come. Be safe, be prepared and take a moment to think things through before heading off on your next adventure in the mountains.