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avalanche ratings



 
 
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  #1  
Old March 25th 10, 11:21 AM posted to rec.skiing.resorts.europe
Ian Blake[_4_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 18
Default avalanche ratings

Do they really mean anything?

Last week I was in Arc 2000. The previous weeks had been cold with light
precipitation so it was quite reasonable that the start of the week the
avalanche risk was set at 2. Then the cold departed and the zero degree
isotherm ascended above 2500m. Friday I was skiing down Comborciere a black run
in a small steep valley. The heat of the day had caused some of the edge of
the valley to slide down leaving avalanche debris across half the piste. I just
skied past it. Saturday arrives it is now raining 2500m. When the weather had
cleared a bit I skied dowm Muguet and Comborciere. A dirty area of snow where
piste basher had flattened the debris and a spot of bare hillside was all that
remained of previous days fall.

As I rode up Pre Saint Esprit my brother pointed out a snow plough clearing snow
that had slipped onto the road. We continued up Arcabulle then headed towards
Arc1850 on Grand Renard. There was a Piste worker setting up a fence to direct
skiers around some more fallen snow from the Aguille Grive. Not too serious it
would hurt if it had hit someone but was only an inconvenient snow pile.

After lunch I am skiing along Grand Renard but decide against going into 1850
and turn down Dents du Peigne (Blue) followed by Lac (Red) and inevitably onto
Edelweiss (Blue) . Here we encountered avalanche debris right across the piste
only stopped by the high bank on the other side. There was a scar all the way
up to Arpette. I was able to ski offpiste around it. At this point I decided
snow conditions were terrible and the light was flat so I stopped skiing early
and went for a shower and clean clothes then wait for the train home.

We saw numerous minor snow slips around the resort and two sizeable avalanches
onto the piste. As we were leaving we noticed that the avalanche risk had
risen to 3. I would think that where many actual avalanches had been occuring
the risk should be more than that.

Ads
  #2  
Old April 1st 10, 11:03 AM posted to rec.skiing.resorts.europe
Ollie Clark
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 15
Default avalanche ratings

Ian Blake wrote:
Do they really mean anything?


I guess they're fairly meaningless in the grand scheme of things. They
are given for an entire resort AFAIK so they can't accurately reflect the
risk in any given part of the resort.

The rating was 3 in Tignes last week for the whole week but I saw one
small slide and one huge slide happen before my eyes and there
was evidence of avalanches on almost every slope. Several pistes had
been hit.

I've never seen so much avalanche debris! Certainly focussed the mind
on the tranceiver training.
  #3  
Old April 1st 10, 01:00 PM posted to rec.skiing.resorts.europe
Ace[_3_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 177
Default avalanche ratings

On 01 Apr 2010 11:03:31 GMT, Ollie Clark
wrote:

Ian Blake wrote:
Do they really mean anything?


I guess they're fairly meaningless in the grand scheme of things. They
are given for an entire resort AFAIK so they can't accurately reflect the
risk in any given part of the resort.


Generally they're done at a wider level than the resort - certainly in
Switzerland. And they go into a lot of detail about which slopes,
orientation and gradient, will be most likely to slip, and at what
time of day depending on the weather.

As such, they're incredibly useful as guidance of where to not go,
particularly at this time of year as the warmer weather starts to
shift a season's worth of snowpack.

So the number ratings should be taken only as a first high-level
guide; if it's 3 or more you really should read the full report,
unless you're staying entirely withing controlled areas.

The rating was 3 in Tignes last week for the whole week but I saw one
small slide and one huge slide happen before my eyes and there
was evidence of avalanches on almost every slope. Several pistes had
been hit.


Generally the pistes are not opened until they've been made safe,
although clearly it's not always the case.

I've never seen so much avalanche debris! Certainly focussed the mind
on the tranceiver training.


Heh. It's often like that at this time of year.
--
Ace
Ski Club of Great Britain http://www.skiclub.co.uk/
All opinions expressed are those of the poster and in no way reflect those of the Ski Club or its members
  #4  
Old April 1st 10, 07:08 PM posted to rec.skiing.resorts.europe
Pip Luscher[_3_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 44
Default avalanche ratings

On 01 Apr 2010 11:03:31 GMT, Ollie Clark
wrote:

Ian Blake wrote:
Do they really mean anything?


I guess they're fairly meaningless in the grand scheme of things. They
are given for an entire resort AFAIK so they can't accurately reflect the
risk in any given part of the resort.

The rating was 3 in Tignes last week for the whole week but I saw one
small slide and one huge slide happen before my eyes and there
was evidence of avalanches on almost every slope. Several pistes had
been hit.

I've never seen so much avalanche debris! Certainly focussed the mind
on the tranceiver training.


One of the runs in the Grand Massif had blocks of snow piled all along
a hundred metres or more of the adjacent drag lift: it wasn't entirely
clear whether it was a manually-triggered avalanche or a
manually-triggered avalanche that was bigger than expected (there were
rumours of both), but apparently it took a couple of days to clear the
route of the drag lift.

There were several fallen avalanches when I was in Flaine a couple of
weeks ago, though all happened AFAIK before I arrived.

Oddly, the off-piste slope where last year our instructor showed us a
fallen avalanche, and nearly demonstrated rather more than he had
bargained for when another section fell away, looked OK.

--
-Pip
  #5  
Old April 4th 10, 03:49 AM posted to rec.skiing.resorts.europe
Florian Anwander
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 6
Default avalanche ratings

Hi Ian

As Ace mentioned: You should read (and understand) the avalanche report
always completely - and read it daily (I read it with my mobile phone -
for switzerland it is wap.slf.ch; in Germany unfortunatley there is no
wap-service).

They name the typical risk locations (example: "behind cambers and in
depressions in directions from north to south east") and the development
over the time of the day, with a preview for the next days.
The structure and the content of the report is standardised in all
european countries.


Also you should get some more general knowledge about avalanches. The
situation, you are describing (raising temperatures while the day), is
the standard cause for increased avalanche activity. This announced
change of conditions, has been definitely mentioned in the report.


Florian
  #6  
Old April 9th 10, 04:14 PM posted to rec.skiing.resorts.europe
Ollie Clark
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 15
Default avalanche ratings

Ace wrote:
On 01 Apr 2010 11:03:31 GMT, Ollie Clark
wrote:

So the number ratings should be taken only as a first high-level
guide; if it's 3 or more you really should read the full report,
unless you're staying entirely withing controlled areas.


Or skiing with a guide you know has read them, I guess.

The rating was 3 in Tignes last week for the whole week but I saw one
small slide and one huge slide happen before my eyes and there
was evidence of avalanches on almost every slope. Several pistes had
been hit.


Generally the pistes are not opened until they've been made safe,
although clearly it's not always the case.


I didn't mean to suggest that the pistes had been hit when open. I'm
pretty sure they were closed when the avalanches hit and then reopened
when the danger had gone (ie. all the snow around had slid onto the
piste!).

I've never seen so much avalanche debris! Certainly focussed the mind
on the tranceiver training.


Heh. It's often like that at this time of year.


I suppose avalanche debris is better than patches of mud and rock...

Cheers,

Ollie
  #7  
Old April 12th 10, 04:54 PM posted to rec.skiing.resorts.europe
BrritSki
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 575
Default avalanche ratings

Ace wrote:

Heh. It's often like that at this time of year.


Talking of which, how is Engelburg holding up ? Got a trip planned for
weekend of 24/5, but not sure if it's going to be worth it...

TIA
  #8  
Old April 12th 10, 07:44 PM posted to rec.skiing.resorts.europe
Ace[_3_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 177
Default avalanche ratings

On Mon, 12 Apr 2010 17:54:19 +0100, BrritSki
wrote:

Ace wrote:

Heh. It's often like that at this time of year.


Talking of which, how is Engelburg holding up ?



Good at the moment. I didn't ski last weekend, for the first time
since November, but my wife was teaching all day Saturday and it was
OK. The run home to the village was closed today, I noticed, despite
some new snow. That's probably it for skiing home.

Got a trip planned for
weekend of 24/5, but not sure if it's going to be worth it...


But the snow at upper levels is still great, and comparing with last
year I'd say there's still a good chance of half-decent skiing by
then. We skiied to the third weekend in May last year, but some
neighbours tell us that they were still skiing the second week of
June. Limited, of course, but not just the glacier runs.

Officially, your dates are the last of the 'season', as I'm sure
you're aware, but it does seem that they kept the 4-man chair at
Laubersrgrat open later than that last year, and the Jochpass chair
stays open all summer anyway, so if there's still snow you can ski, at
least part way. If you'er happy to walk the bottom part there should
be plenty.

Please feel free to email and perhaps meet up if you're still on for
it. Would be good to put a face to the name, if nothing else.
bruce dot rogers at roche dot com

--
Ace
Ski Club of Great Britain http://www.skiclub.co.uk/
All opinions expressed are those of the poster and in no way reflect those of the Ski Club or its members
  #9  
Old April 13th 10, 07:04 AM posted to rec.skiing.resorts.europe
BrritSki
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 575
Default avalanche ratings

Ace wrote:
On Mon, 12 Apr 2010 17:54:19 +0100, BrritSki
wrote:

Ace wrote:
Heh. It's often like that at this time of year.

Talking of which, how is Engelburg holding up ?



Good at the moment. I didn't ski last weekend, for the first time
since November, but my wife was teaching all day Saturday and it was
OK. The run home to the village was closed today, I noticed, despite
some new snow. That's probably it for skiing home.

Got a trip planned for
weekend of 24/5, but not sure if it's going to be worth it...


But the snow at upper levels is still great, and comparing with last
year I'd say there's still a good chance of half-decent skiing by
then. We skiied to the third weekend in May last year, but some
neighbours tell us that they were still skiing the second week of
June. Limited, of course, but not just the glacier runs.

Officially, your dates are the last of the 'season', as I'm sure
you're aware, but it does seem that they kept the 4-man chair at
Laubersrgrat open later than that last year, and the Jochpass chair
stays open all summer anyway, so if there's still snow you can ski, at
least part way. If you'er happy to walk the bottom part there should
be plenty.

Please feel free to email and perhaps meet up if you're still on for
it. Would be good to put a face to the name, if nothing else.
bruce dot rogers at roche dot com

Thanks for that Bruce, I'll let you know...
  #10  
Old April 18th 10, 07:10 PM posted to rec.skiing.resorts.europe
Ace[_3_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 177
Default avalanche ratings

On Tue, 13 Apr 2010 08:04:39 +0100, BrritSki
wrote:

Ace wrote:
On Mon, 12 Apr 2010 17:54:19 +0100, BrritSki
wrote:


Got a trip planned for
weekend of 24/5, but not sure if it's going to be worth it...


But the snow at upper levels is still great, and comparing with last
year I'd say there's still a good chance of half-decent skiing by
then. We skiied to the third weekend in May last year, but some
neighbours tell us that they were still skiing the second week of
June. Limited, of course, but not just the glacier runs.

Officially, your dates are the last of the 'season', as I'm sure
you're aware, but it does seem that they kept the 4-man chair at
Laubersrgrat open later than that last year, and the Jochpass chair
stays open all summer anyway, so if there's still snow you can ski, at
least part way. If you'er happy to walk the bottom part there should
be plenty.


Thanks for that Bruce, I'll let you know...


Update: This weekend had some brilliant skiing. REally good spring
snow conditions, firm first thing so choose the sunnier slopes
(Engstlenalp) the softening up nicelt through the day and moving to
less sunny bits later. Some folk weer still skiing down to the
village, although the run was officially closed. We didn't bother.

Next weekend (which was the one you meant, despite your 24/5 typo)
should still be brilliant, with a bit more snow forecast and quite
cold conditions for the next few days, so if you can still make it I
don't think you'll be disappointed.

--
Ace
Ski Club of Great Britain http://www.skiclub.co.uk/
All opinions expressed are those of the poster and in no way reflect those of the Ski Club or its members
 




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