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Safety of (eastern) tree skiing?

Hawk

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Yes this thread is mainly about that unfortunate person at Stowe. I have never ventured that far out at stowe. Only skied hour glass and too the skiers left of that and then down into that Bench glades and sometimes out to 108. That is serious terrain out there. There were posts back years ago on the Famous Internet Skiers site where they skied some of those chute. Ropes were required they showed where they did it and how they did it. Pretty cool.
As for skiing in Three's. I think there are 2 types of situations here that are getting combined.
1) Glade skiing in bounds or know well traveled glades. - In this case I am sure we all have skied alone in glades that get well traveled. The risk of not being seen if you get hurt are lower and extraction is easier.
2) Side country and back country - areas like slidebrook that are expansive and not patrolled with low skier traffic is a different story. You really should ski with 3. On several occasions I have either been involved or came upon an injured person in an area like this. I guess if it were you with a compound fracture in the woods starting to go into shock with no one around, you might have a different perspective. It is imperative to have some one there to help and someone to go and get help. Trust me, you only have to experience this once to understand.
 

abc

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Yes this thread is mainly about that unfortunate person at Stowe.
It isn't. But
there are 2 types of situations here that are getting combined

The risk of not being seen if you get hurt is lower
Even inbound, that's not a given. In the woods, it's not easy to see anything beyond a few turns. I've been in groups where, when we got out and found we were missing one or two! :( In those cases, the missing skiers were not injured, just slow or came out at a different spot. But imagine trying to go back to find them if they didn't come out at all!

As someone pointed out, going a group in the woods has its own drawback. The slower skier were pushed to keep up. That's when their injury potential get elevated.

My preferred inbound wood skiing is with one other person. Much easier to keep track of. There's no chance of "I thought you were with him", "Oh, I thought he went with you!".
 

Domeskier

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I won't ski the woods alone because I feel funny about asking total strangers to give me a thorough spider check when I'm done.
 

mikec142

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The incident at Stowe is awful on many levels.

I'm a solid skier, but not confident enough to be tackling the backcountry. Would try it with an experienced guide.

Using Sugarbush as an example (it's the mountain I ski the most), I think there's a difference between marked glades, unmarked yet inbounds glades, sidecountry, and backcountry.

I'm completely comfortable going into Eden or Deeper Sleeper alone. On the otherhand, I met a nice guy on the Castlerock lift and he took me through the woods to the skier's right off of Middle Earth. I don't think I'd do that alone. The trees were too close together and there's not a chance that if I was injured that someone would see me from the lift or trail. I've never skied Slidebrook as I'm often alone. I'd love to check it out, but the idea of skiing it alone doesn't sound like an idea that I'm comfortable, especially if I'm not comfortable skiing certain in bounds glades alone.

When I ski with my kids (both solid skiers, but still teenagers, so I'm not sure if they have the healthy sense of fear that I have) and they want to go into the tougher glades, I'm all in, as long as I see a decent amount of tracks that would indicate I'm not the first person who has done this.

The plan for this season was to hire a guide/instructor to take us into Slidebrook, but I tore a calf muscle before the sidecountry snow was good enough and haven't had the chance yet.
 

bdfreetuna

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keep the faith
or the best joke

Anyway mikec142 reminds me of an important point. Make sure you have cell phone signal before venturing into the hairy stuff. If you're injured you can most likely still make a call for help.

I say this as someone who hates cell towers on ski mountains for both health and eyesore reasons. Imagine working full time at MRG Bird's Nest with a cell tower right on it's roof, when even the workers who maintain it undergo special precautions and limited time right next to those things. "RF burn" is an occupational hazard similar to a sunburn. Really not thinking of their employees and customer health when these things are placed right next to buildings that are occupied regularly. An intro to the topic... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pzcuQw7XWY
 
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KustyTheKlown

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yea im reading this as an actual fear of spiders in the woods unless clarified, and i stand by my 'lamest post' comment.
 

bdfreetuna

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You guys don't ski enough trees if you don't run into spiders on a regular basis.

:D

I mean, on those warm April days it does happen from time to time.

Thought I heard a rattlesnake in the woods @ Magic a couple days ago. Turned out to be a bird.
 

skiur

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I have heard of snow snakes in the trees, but never heard of a spider.
 

KustyTheKlown

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Yikes! If that was what happened, that's terrifying.

So Tusk is the prominent Gully you see that you access off Upper Smugglers Trail on Spruce just above where US can cut off back towards Main Street. Relevant to this conversation, I've skied Tusk a few times alone when I probably shouldn't have because the snow is very hit or miss in it and when it's bad, it's dangerously bad. Basically from Tusk to your blue zone is I don't think skied by really anyone. Maybe some secrets in there I don't know about these days as it's been 15 years since Stowe was home, but nobody I knew back then was really going out there. I always basically have skied blue and on down to Sterling lift at Smuggs. Never hoofed it back over to Stowe. It's basically no different from Stowe side vs Smuggs. You ski out towards the middle and drop in. I do recall one time I ventured towards "red" in search of fresh snow when the bowl was tracked out and actually got cliffed out and had to hike back up a little bit . But it was like a 30 foot cliff and you could easily see it coming. I thought maybe there might be something to the left of it, but it was just totally dense fir trees and then the cliff just keeps growing the further skiers left up into red to probably 200+ feet like you said.

On the Mansfield side I never ventured much further into the notch than Hellbrook. People do push it further that way, but again you run the risk of getting on top of some 100 foot plus cliffs.

It honestly surprises me there aren't more side country deaths at Stowe. So many places to get into serious trouble that are not too much effort to reach from the lifts.

Sent from my XT1635-01 using AlpineZone mobile app

apparently there is a way to ski off the northside of elephant head and into the bowls, popping you out closer to stowe on 108 than my blue zone line. i'm told that this is the main bowls access point coming from sensation. makes sense i guess since the cliffs are on the west and south sides of elephants head, but yikes that leaves little room for error.
 
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