Report from 30th January 2020
I triggered and was caught in a small avalanche on Mt. Superior, UT today.
The avalanche was about 50′ wide, 12″ deep, and I rode in the avalanche for about 150-vertical-feet before I was able to backseat ski my way out of the avalanche and accidentally launch off a snow knob.
I was uninjured.
The avalanche danger on Mt. Superior today was rated as “Moderate”.
This was the first avalanche I’ve ever been in and it was terrifying.
I dropped into a line of the skiers right of Mt. Superior today at about 4pm.
I’d skied Superior 2 days ago and skied in the path of an avalanche that had already run that morning and I knew that the avalanche problem on Superior existed on the eastern aspects of the mini-spines that come off the summit.
I estimated that 48-hours was enough to solve that avalanche problem, but I was wrong.
Instead of skiing the gut of the little gully I dropped into, I skied up and onto the mini-spine and rode on the eastern aspect of it – the exact location of the avalanche problem I was already familiar with from 2 days ago.
On my 10th turn down the gully and up onto the mini-spine, I triggered a 12″ deep, 50′ wide avalanche that broke 6-feet above me.
I thought that I’d simply stab my hand and skis into the bed surface and stop, but that did not work.
I rode in the avalanche and pointed my skis straight down to attempt to ski out of the avalanche.
I was somehow able to backseat ski my way out of the avalanche and accidentally launch off a snow knob and crash safely in the snow below.
Upon landing the small avalanche continued down the mountain without me to my right and I stayed exactly where I landed.
I was very lucky today.
I made a bad decision today.
I learned a lot today.
Thanks to my very strong backcountry partner, Ben.
Before the very serious avalanche accident I experienced today, we were having a great day and I’d like to share our day in words and images for the learning of all.
The snow was terrific in the Wasatch today.
We started the day off with a short, low-angle tree run in foggy weather.
Then, the sun came out and things were gorgeous.
We then skied an uncommon chute that was terrifically fun.
From there we went up Mt. Superior and a fog rolled in again.
A north wind picked up at around 3pm and blew the fog away.
We dropped in to Mt. Superior around 4pm and the snow was good.
I was in the avalanche described in detail above and was uninjured.
After the avalanche, we skied down the debris in the chute then down to the road in bad visibility.