• Welcome to AlpineZone, the largest online community of skiers and snowboarders in the Northeast!

    You may have to REGISTER before you can post. Registering is FREE, gets rid of the majority of advertisements, and lets you participate in giveaways and other AlpineZone events!

Closed means closed

BenedictGomez

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
11,438
Points
83
Location
PRNJ
Tragic.

I'm puzzled how they could have figured out precisely who triggered the avalanche, and I'm not even sure what the potential legal ramifications may be, but I hope they throw the book at the snowboarders to whatever extent that it's possible.
 

AdironRider

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 27, 2005
Messages
3,295
Points
48
The victim was backcountry skiing. He did not go under a rope. He was accessing the goods by skinning up. The snowboard dudes went slackcountry skiing from the top.

This was my understanding, and to be honest, it seems kinda harsh to charge these guys when all 4 made basically the same decision to be out there given the avi danger that day. How they all got there is semantics really.
 

thetrailboss

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 4, 2004
Messages
30,768
Points
113
Location
NEK by Birth

fbrissette

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 19, 2012
Messages
1,669
Points
48
Location
Montreal/Jay Peak
There are too many unknowns to judge anyone at this point. Beside ducking under a closed rope (which not uncommon), we don't know much.

Crossing an avalanche slope above someone is clearly dumb but we have no way to know if they could even see the guy below. Skinning up on an avalanche slope is also dumb, and doing it alone even more so. On the other hand, he may just have been crossing an avalanche path and gotten very unlucky. Still, skinning up alone, in avalanche terrain, and below resort-accessed terrain does not appear to be a terribly bright idea.
 

legalskier

New member
Joined
Sep 22, 2008
Messages
3,052
Points
0

fbrissette

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 19, 2012
Messages
1,669
Points
48
Location
Montreal/Jay Peak
Actually, they do. The CAIC Report is quite specific, suggesting the authorities interviewed one or more of the boarders, and witnesses if any:
https://avalanche.state.co.us/caic/acc/acc_report.php?accfm=inv&acc_id=705

It does not state whether their findings have been referred to the local prosecuting attorney's office.

Thanks for the link. As always these avalanche reports make for instructive reading. The way I see it, the snowboarders behaved somewhat reasonably, although skiing high consequence terrain on a day when avalanche danger is rated 'considerable' is reckless in my opinion. I would not ski this chute even on a moderate day. They apparently were not aware of anybody below them.

Looks like the guy below was part unlucky and part clueless (and mostly the latter). The trail appears to be crossing several paths so it sounds like a terrible choice for an early exercise skin up. If you ski alone, you should absolutely stick to no-danger slopes.
 

crazy

New member
Joined
Oct 14, 2018
Messages
171
Points
0
Thanks for the link. As always these avalanche reports make for instructive reading. The way I see it, the snowboarders behaved somewhat reasonably, although skiing high consequence terrain on a day when avalanche danger is rated 'considerable' is reckless in my opinion. I would not ski this chute even on a moderate day. They apparently were not aware of anybody below them.

Looks like the guy below was part unlucky and part clueless (and mostly the latter). The trail appears to be crossing several paths so it sounds like a terrible choice for an early exercise skin up. If you ski alone, you should absolutely stick to no-danger slopes.

The guy below was definitely unlucky. By the time the avalanche passed through the cliffs, it wasn't even that wide. Wrong place at the wrong time. That said, I'm not sure how clueless he was. It sounds like he knew the area well. I'm speculating obviously, but perhaps he knew that the area above him was permanently closed, so he felt save crossing the terrain.

The snowboarders should be prosecuted, in my opinion. There have to be consequences for your negligence killing another person.
 

Ol Dirty Noodle

New member
Joined
Dec 30, 2017
Messages
205
Points
0
The guy below was definitely unlucky. By the time the avalanche passed through the cliffs, it wasn't even that wide. Wrong place at the wrong time. That said, I'm not sure how clueless he was. It sounds like he knew the area well. I'm speculating obviously, but perhaps he knew that the area above him was permanently closed, so he felt save crossing the terrain.

The snowboarders should be prosecuted, in my opinion. There have to be consequences for your negligence killing another person.

I’d imagine depending on their records it’ll be something like cost of recovery effort, 6-18 months of probation with community service.
Even if they charged them with man 1, but it seems like they have this situation covered under a specific charge out there which makes me think they go a little easier than say an impaired driver who runs someone down.
 

fbrissette

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 19, 2012
Messages
1,669
Points
48
Location
Montreal/Jay Peak
The guy below was definitely unlucky. By the time the avalanche passed through the cliffs, it wasn't even that wide. Wrong place at the wrong time. That said, I'm not sure how clueless he was. It sounds like he knew the area well. I'm speculating obviously, but perhaps he knew that the area above him was permanently closed, so he felt save crossing the terrain.

The snowboarders should be prosecuted, in my opinion. There have to be consequences for your negligence killing another person.

Upon more careful examination, this is clearly a very dangerous trail to travel on in winter times. It is exposed to avalanches on either sides and crosses several clear avalanche paths You have to be clueless to expose yourself to multiple avalanche paths while being alone. Even more so under a considerable avalanche rating. Traveling in a group, and crossing each path one at a time would be more reasonable, but going there alone definitely shows a complete lack of avalanche awareness. This is Colorado. Why would you go there alone when I'm sure there are several totally safe options around ?

For sure there was some bad luck involved, but if you expose yourself to danger often enough, bad luck becomes guaranteed. Being on that trail alone under considerable avalanche rating is unjustifiable.

Having said that, I see why this area should be permanently closed. Anybody skiing that chute has a death wish. This is slope with almost guaranteed death if you are caught up in a slide. I don't understand why anybody would choose to ski this.
 
Last edited:

raisingarizona

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 19, 2014
Messages
895
Points
63
Upon more careful examination, this is clearly a very dangerous trail to travel on in winter times. It is exposed to avalanches on either sides and crosses several clear avalanche paths You have to be clueless to expose yourself to multiple avalanche paths while being alone. Even more so under a considerable avalanche rating. Traveling in a group, and crossing each path one at a time would be more reasonable, but going there alone definitely shows a complete lack of avalanche awareness. This is Colorado. Why would you go there alone when I'm sure there are several totally safe options around ?

For sure there was some bad luck involved, but if you expose yourself to danger often enough, bad luck becomes guaranteed. Being on that trail alone under considerable avalanche rating is unjustifiable.

Having said that, I see why this area should be permanently closed. Anybody skiing that chute has a death wish. This is slope with almost guaranteed death if you are caught up in a slide. I don't understand why anybody would choose to ski this.

There are periods where it’s very stable and slides are unlikely. It’s a beautiful ski when things are right. Almost everything in Bear Creek Canyon is extremely high risk and ends in terrain traps. BCC is an absolutely incredible place to ski but you have to be patient and wait for conditions to be right if you want to ski in there safely.

Death wish? Not really.
 

FBGM

Active member
Joined
Feb 19, 2016
Messages
737
Points
43
No one in here has a clue. Struggling to get down the chop and ice at the end of the day is about max skill level for most on here.

The snowboards are at fault. You rope duck and cause issues you pay. All 4 should have manslaughter charges, which would get reduced to minor jail time.

The uphill skier was not in best spot. Spicy place any day of year. Exactly wrong spot and time this day.

Good lesson for east coast Jongs. You see so many come out west and duck ropes like they know their shit any other day at Killington. This is how you get good people killed. Stay inside the ropes.
 

fbrissette

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 19, 2012
Messages
1,669
Points
48
Location
Montreal/Jay Peak
Almost everything in Bear Creek Canyon is extremely high risk and ends in terrain traps.

That sums my evaluation of the terrain quite well.

I refuse to ski terrain traps in any condition. Risk vs reward. Why ski a fricking slope when a slide is guaranteed to kill you, when you can almost certainly find equally good snow in much safer terrain. You may have to skin up 2400 vertical feet instead of taking a lift, I get that, but I think my life is worth it.

Death wish? Not really.

To me, skiing this terrain on a considerable day is a death wish. But risk perception is an individual thing.
 

fbrissette

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 19, 2012
Messages
1,669
Points
48
Location
Montreal/Jay Peak
No one in here has a clue. Struggling to get down the chop and ice at the end of the day is about max skill level for most on here.

??? There's enough information to pass some level of judgment.

To anyone with minimal backcountry/avy training, there are clear facts:

The snowboarders did ski a dangerous slope on a day when they clearly should not have. The fact that they initiated a slide that could easily have killed snowboarder 1 (in addition to the guy below) testifies to that.

The guy below was alone crossing several avalanche paths below terrain rated considerable. There are no good justification for doing this solo.

There's plenty of blame to throw around before putting the boarders in jail.
 

crazy

New member
Joined
Oct 14, 2018
Messages
171
Points
0
??? There's enough information to pass some level of judgment.

To anyone with minimal backcountry/avy training, there are clear facts:

The snowboarders did ski a dangerous slope on a day when they clearly should not have. The fact that they initiated a slide that could easily have killed snowboarder 1 (in addition to the guy below) testifies to that.

The guy below was alone crossing several avalanche paths below terrain rated considerable. There are no good justification for doing this solo.

There's plenty of blame to throw around before putting the boarders in jail.

I get your point, but let's not victim blame here. Yes, he was traveling in avalanche terrain on a day that was rated considerable. That's on him. But what was the probability of a natural slide releasing and killing him? That's not just the probability of slides releasing onto the terrain that he was traveling on, but also at exactly the right time to harm him. Even with terrain rated considerable, the chances of being killed by a natural slide is quite low. Not zero obviously, but not high enough that the victim had a "death wish." As for me, I wouldn't have gone out, but everyone has their own risk tolerances. It's pretty clear that had the snowboarders not triggered that slide, the victim would still be alive. Period. To me, that's what matters.

If the slide was triggered right by the backcountry gate, that's one thing. It's a whole different thing when it's triggered by people illegally entering terrain.
 
Top