Over the weekend, skiers and snowboarders who had waited out the closure posted photos to social media to mark the reopening of the mountain’s 12,481-foot peak. Chris Stagg, the resort’s vice president, said the peak’s challenging set of steep runs, cliffs, and couloirs was reopened for hikers on Saturday (Feb. 9). The lift was running the next day, drawing crowds to the mountain’s high point.
The area had been closed since Jan. 17, the day an inbounds avalanche started in a chute and swept two skiers under the snow, killing them both. The Kachina Lift had opened for the season only a few days earlier. The avalanche was the first to take lives inbounds since the resort was founded in 1955.
Over the past few weeks, the mountain’s ski patrol team conducted their standard “control work,” which involves detonating explosives and traversing the snow in order to reduce the risk of a slide. Officials at the ski valley said the same precautions were taken early the morning of the fatal avalanche last month.
On Monday (Feb. 11), the ski lift was closed again due to high winds and heavy snow, Stagg said.