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It’s Avalanche Season in the Sierra Nevada Mountains

Sidney Drabkin

Posted on January 21, 2020 14:54

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Don’t try to outrace an avalanche, they can bury you every time in tons of snow.

Signs are showing that we are going to have an early avalanche season in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Every year, near the end of January and the beginning of February, avalanches start occurring on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. 

Just this past week at Alpine Meadows, a well known ski resort in the Sierras, an early avalanche hit the resort area and killed one skier and injured another. Several years ago the same thing happened, days later a person was found alive and several people died. 

Avalanches occur when there is a good snowfall, a quick thawing, and a quick freezing. Ice between snow acts like a ball bearing and the snow on top of the ice slides off with the slightest noise. So far all the elements that cause avalanches are present on the eastern side of the California Sierra Nevada Mountains.

When going cross-country skiing always go with a group of people. Four skiers got caught in an avalanche while skiing down a hill in Washington State, and when one of the skiers woke up he took a good look at his skis and one ski was twisted like a string of cooked spaghetti. There were two things that he used to save his life. He skied at an angle to the avalanche and threw out a small rope more then three hundred feet. When a small rope is thrown out during an avalanche, it will rise to the top of the snow and you can follow it.

Today there are small beacons that you turn on when you start to ski in avalanche country. When you get caught in one, the beacon comes on and keeps signaling until it is turned off. 

When skiing in avalanche country, always tell another person what time you should be back, where you are going to ski, and how many skiers are in you party, or register at a ranger station before you leave.

Just remember avalanches are very dangerous and can strike at any time without the slightest notice. If you are skiing cross-country and you hear a big cracking sound, start to ski to the right as fast as you can. It could save your life. 

Don’t ever try to out race an avalanche, they can beat you every time and will bury you in tons of snow and ice. 

Sidney Drabkin

Posted on January 21, 2020 14:54

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Source: ABQJournal

The snow season has blasted into the high country and transformed Durango, Colo., into a white, wintery playground.

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