Skier Triggered Slide on Axtel

CB Avalanche Center2020-21 Accidents, 2020-21 Observations

Date of Observation: 01/02/2021

Zone: Northwest Mountains
Location: First Bowl
Aspect: North, North East, East
Elevation: 11,350

Avalanches: 1 Skier Triggered D2 (red arrow). On our first lap (green arrow) we noticed no real signs of instability (no collapsing or cracking). Our stability tests were benign and our ski cuts produced no results. On our second lap while descending the ridge towards our intended chute, we noted that the snow seemed significantly more faceted and had a “trapdoor feel”. Skier 1 skied approx. 150ft into the chute before pulling out into the trees. Skier two followed and while making a final turn out of the chute to regroup with skier one, triggered the slide and was carried approx. 50ft downslope before skiing out of the path of the slab. The crown appeared to range between 1-2+ft and the debris ran approx. 700ft. The slab failed on October/November facets near or at the ground. There were no injuries. We are both incredibly thankful for the positive outcome.

Weather: Mix of sun & cloud. Light to moderate wind.
Snowpack: Unpredictable and frightening.
We also noticed surface hoar on every inch of terrain we traveled through, up to 5mm in size.