More Bluebird

Backcountry snowboarding in the San Juans, Colorado
Alex gettin some fluffies

I finally got out again today to shred some powder… such good snow out there right now after a week of on and off snowfall. But, the avalanche conditions are still very dangerous so we remain on the easy routes. Over the last two days, CAIC has been blasting some of the larger avy paths along the highway with both howitzer and helicopter, and the resulting avalanches and debris are impressive – including some huge slides off Mount Abrams which are even visible from Ouray, as well as big natural slides on the bigger slopes throughout the area.

Colorado’s awful avalanche season has even made it into the news on Huffington Post, where Dale Atkins, president of the American Avalanche Association, is quoted: “We have to go back 30 years to see this kind of widespread danger. It’s dangerous inside ski areas, outside ski areas. A lot of folks who have only been here two, five, 10 years haven’t ever seen or experienced a snowpack like this.”

UPDATE: Check out this incredible video shot near Red Mountain Pass the same day as our above outing. This is what I’m talking about! Can’t believe these guys were railing this terrain in these conditions, but all’s well that ends well, I guess. NSFW!

2 thoughts on “More Bluebird

  1. Gorgeous blue and white image – I like the depth of seeing the powder-covered ridges beyond. Has the avalanche risk calmed down? (or did you just say “to hell with it, I’m goin’ boarding?”)

    1. Thanks Dave. The avalanche risk is still very high and probably will stay that way for months. The problem is that the bottom of the snowpack consists of 2-3 feet of uncohesive sugar snow (“depth hoar”). So the whole snowpack laying on top is just a bridge over ball bearings, waiting to go. The lines we’ve been riding are relatively safe, popular routes that have been skied over and over again all season, which strengthens the pack a bit in those areas. We are definitely still staying away from the bigger, riskier, (and more fun) routes. Mainly I’ve just been riding the office chair, though.

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