Friday, December 19, 2008
Vail Another Blue Sky Basin snow slide was triggered by a skier Wednesday on Vail Mountain - this time by someone who had ducked a rope and was skiing in a closed area.
The skier followed patrollers' tracks under a rope and set off a small slide on the Skree Field trail, said Don Dressler, snow ranger for the U.S. Forest Service. The skier was not hurt, although both of his skis were lost under the slide, Dressler said.
Patrollers at Vail, which reported 10 inches of new snow Wednesday, had closed the area for avalanche-control work.
"To me, the big message here that people need to be aware of is the importance of observing closures," Dressler said.
A Vail Resorts spokeswoman said the incident was not an avalanche but rather a "point release slide."
The slide was about a foot deep at its crown, 60 feet wide at its widest and ran for about 300 feet, Dressler said.
The incident follows an avalanche that occurred Sunday on the nearby Lover's Leap trail. That slide happened in an area that was open for skiing. The skier who triggered the avalanche was buried to just below his waist and also was unhurt.
Dressler reviewed that incident, and he said Vail Mountain acted appropriately in opening the terrain.
"There were no errors made, no mistakes made," he said. "It was just an accident."
Avalanche danger for the Vail-Summit zone was rated as considerable Wednesday.
A storm was expected to roll into the valley in the early morning hours of Thursday with snow becoming heavy in the afternoon and tapering off Thursday evening, according to Paul Frisbie, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. About a foot of snow could be expected Thursday, Frisbie said. More storms are on the way - one today and one Monday, he said.
"It'll probably be snowing about every other day for the rest of the month," he said.