Heads up. With the first significant storm of the winter, please make sure you’re aware of not only avalanche conditions but also shallow early season snow.
Shallow, early season snow conditions can be dangerous.
Just in the past week, shallowly buried rocks are to blame for the tragic death of a Bozeman woman and a British Columbia snowboarder who was killed by head trauma in a “freak backcountry accident” while skiing on his splitboard in relatively flat, rolling terrain.
Remember that if there is enough snow on the ground to make turns on your skis, board or sled then there is enough snow to slide. Be prepared, carry your avy rescue gear, and always travel with a partner. Keep in mind that with minimal ground cover, getting caught in an early-season avalanche means getting pulled over rocks, trees, and stumps. Even an early season avalanche can be fatal.
If we look back to November 13, 2011, an early-season powder day in Little Cottonwood Canyon ended with 18 unintentionally triggered avalanches including six people caught and carried and one fatal. Check out the blog and podcast about “The Day of Madness in Little Cottonwood Canyon” by visiting: http://utahavalanchecenter.org/blog/33854
Tell your friends to help give everyone a heads up.