BC Zone Observation Report
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 12:00 AM
Vail & Summit County
Vail & Summit County
Silver Couloir - North facing aspect of Buffalo Mountain.
Bluebird all day - North facing aspect - summit is 12,777 - top of couloir is approximately 12,200 ft - slide happened almost parallel with treeline - 11,500 ft.
The snowpack on the skin up was stable and there were no signs of whumphing or cracking. The snow at the summit was pristine - even on the east facing aspect. We skied about 9 inches of fresh down to the couloir and it appeared/felt cohesive and solid. The snowpack at the top of the couloir was truly some of the best backcountry powder I have ever skied. On the far skiers right side of the couloir, snow was breaking at the thigh as we skied blower powder with absolutely nothing sluffing or fracturing around us. We crossed over the couloir to the skiers left side about 200 feet above tree line to ski to our next safe zone. Once the the third member of our group descended he had a very small sluff slide go off underneath him... We obviously didn't pay enough attention to it.
1We were stopped at a safe zone right about even with treeline--two of the four in our group were in a safe zone on the far skiers right side of the chute. I was about 100 yards above my friend who was stopped skiers left but still in the couloir. I took about four turns and [I didn't hear it - my roommate heard a loud POP] and there were spider fractures everywhere. I watched my roommate barely escape the slide and as I tried to make a turn out/self arrest my feet were swept from under me and I was all of a sudden penguin sliding (head first on my stomach) down the couloir. After (what I think) were about five or six seconds, I managed to right myself, get my skis downhill and as my shoulder clipped a rock I grabbed it and managed to get an edge in the bed surface and shoot myself out of the slide. It settled after it slid about another 200 yards down the couloir from where I got out of it.
AS / u