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It’s all relative

In a story a few weeks ago about the anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ famous flight, the reporter summed up nicely the populace’s perception of current air travel.

The story, in essence, said getting on an airplane has become so commonplace that many people can find plenty of things to gripe about without giving much thought to the fact we can do it at all.

The same could be said of skiing. Thumping the sticks or board down in the snow, heading to the lift and being whisked up a hill to let gravity do the rest is pretty remarkable. And the subsequent experience of launching off cliffs, bashing through moguls, slowly gliding in waist-deep powder or feeling the crunch of the corduroy ” whatever your poison ” speaks for itself.



So when you take a chair with a tourist from Florida and hear him complain because conditions are near whiteout, smile and take a moment to appreciate what you’re doing.

But enough perspective and on to reality. Conditions on expert terrain are becoming a bit sketchy as rocks are starting to show their ugly faces.



And the backcountry is also getting tender, as evidenced by this note from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center:

“A deep hard-slab avalanche near Snowmass was triggered remotely by a skier Tuesday. It was 300 feet wide and ran 1,000 vertical feet on an east-southeast aspect. The slide is noteworthy because the skier was some distance away, which indicates the snowpack could be changing enough that smaller triggers are able to release larger avalanches.

“These conditions can likely be found in many mountain locations near and above timberline.”

Have fun, but remember Sgt. Esterhaus’ words from “Hill Street Blues” ” “Hey! Let’s be careful out there.”


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