So, this has been one of the slowest starts to winter I can recall. Pretty frustrating if you’re committed to making a ski film from a production company named Powderwhore. Maybe we should have gone with something else that would have put less pressure to deliver the, all up in your grill, blower.
Snow has finally started to fall in ernest and lines are filling in! We headed out into Days Fork today to check things out.
The mountains were in and out of the clouds.
Paige Brady always seems to know the perfect time to visit the Wasatch.
Paige is so strong on the uphill and the downhill, it’s great to ski with someone so motivated.
Andy Jacobsen quickly drops in with a little weather window.
Skiing Pow is #1 in his opinion
Paige followed and skied really well despite forgetting to lock down her free pivot bindings. Hate it when that happens.
I filmed from above and then cleaned up the leftovers
Tagged some rocks, lost some base, but skipped to safety! Notice the avalung is out, that will come into play shortly.
Here’s where things got interesting. We had put in 5 tracks on this NE facing slope without noticing any avalanche concerns. The slope was skied one at a time with everybody pulling up in safe zones. We wanted to move down the ridge to the next are so we skinned back up a sub ridge which was a very safe terrain feature. Andy Jacobsen was breaking trail and we were once again spread out working to ‘safe’ zones (trees and below cliffs) while skinning. Jonah and Jay were going to wait below (that one’s for you Jay). The ridge became too rocky to ascend so Andy cut out into the small bowl we had just skied. Paige and I waited and watched and Andy made the ridge without incident. I started out and crossed a thin rocky area when heard the slope ‘thud’, and then watched it release in a big way. I yelled avalanche and tried to work back to the ridge, but it was clear I was too far out onto the slope which had fractured about 250ft above me. The avalung was easy to grab and place in my mouth, I bit down hard and swam. Right at that moment I was submerged, grazed some trees and surfaced roughly 300ft down from where I triggered it. I yelled ‘I’m OK’ and Jay came down to make sure. He was convinced I was jacked up having seen me strained through the trees. Nothing but a bruise on my elbow and the loss of both ski poles for making a poor call.
Looking back we should have just avoided that aspect for the day, our vision was clouded by the drought we’ve been having. No excuses though, rule #1 is don’t get caught and we failed. Got away lucky on this one.
Thanks again to Jay Beyer for documenting the day with the lens.
Posted by NH