Backcountry observations + avalanche report
Skiing in 5 Mile basin just outside the boundary of Whitewater Ski Resort over the past few days we witnessed a size 1 pull out on a convex roll in the upper reaches of the fingers (the multiple slide paths between the trees on the lower half of the basin). A women was caught but luckily only momentarily lost her ski. This fracture broke well above the skier and after others had already skied the slope.
The very next day our party was skiing in the trees on the same Westerly aspect and got terrained out on a very small rock outcropping. We decided not to ski left into a very large gully (not a good idea given conditions) so we decided to ski right into a very small isolated pocket and ski cut the top of the slope to see what would happen. Unfortunately their was a small drop into this route and the first person fell and could not cut the slope but instead triggered the slope to fail. Without any snow above the subject they were not buried and thanks to fast reflexes they pulled their airbag just as a precaution. They were not buried and didn’t travel far given all the snow was beneath them. The crown was perhaps 15- 20 feet wide and isolated within the rocky terrain, it failed on the buried rain crust approximately 35cm down. The debris moved for 100’ down slope and we estimated it as a size 1. No one was buried or hurt and it was a good learning exercise for everyone involved.
Be smart out there and don’t think it’s as safe as it is as it really isn’t. Micro terrain is very reactive and small changes in location and aspects make a huge difference in stability. If you have any observations please post them so we can all learn and be safe.