Avalanche: Douglas Island

Location: Showboat

Route & General Observations

Skinned up the ridge and descended down showboat in a party of 2.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger SkierAvalanche Type Wet Loose Snow
Aspect SoutheastElevation 1500ft
Slope Angle 32degCrown Depthunknown
Width 35ftVertical Run 450ft
Near Miss / Accident Details
Number Caught/Carried? 1Number Partially Buried? 1
Number Fully Buried?0Number Injured?0
Number Fatalities?0  
Avalanche Details

After skiing about halfway down showboat we came up on a steeper break over and skier 1 descended as skier 2 waited at the top of the break over, a point release was caused by one of skiers 1 initial turns on the break over and slowly entrapped more snow. The snow caught up to skier 1 and caught and carried him approximately 350 through a patch of alders. Skier one eventually came to rest as the slide stoped on the next bench and was buried up to his waist. Skier 2 descended on the bed service and assisted in digging out skier 1 and with equipment recovery. A ski cut was used on the next steep pitch with a similar loose wet avalanche being produced.

Events of the day

Wet loose was the main problem of the day with warming temps and periods of wet snow/rain throughout the morning on a smooth melt freeze crust with about 3-5 inches of fresh snow. Natural rollerballs were observed on the skin up and during skiing on the way down. Complacency and under respecting the wet loose avalanche problem resulted in this near miss. Skiers ones mindset was on skiing the slope and he was not respecting the micro terrain on the decent. Even small avalanche paths can easily become dangerous with terrain traps and heavy wet snow typical with wet loose avalanches. Keep an eye out for changes in pitch and wetter snow as you decend in elevations. Have a slough management plan as you pick your decent routes in avalanche terrain.

Photos & Video
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