As previously reported, another post control avalanche occurred at Mammoth Mountain over the weekend. Laura Johnson with the Ski Area reports the slide started just after 10:00 am on Saturday, near the top of Mammoth Mountain on the run Drop Out Two.
Four people were involved in the incident. Three of these people skied out safely. The one person who was partially buried was immediately assisted and released, according to Johnson.
Ski Patrol cleared the slide path in under an hour using avalanche dogs, avalanche transceiver searches, a Recco search, and a hasty search. The area had just recently opened after Ski Patrol had performed routine avalanche control with hand charges and ski cutting earlier Saturday morning, according to Johnson.
This is the fourth post control slide at Mammoth this year. All of these slides occurred after periods of heavy snowfall, Johnson explained. She says that although post-control slides are not uncommon, MMSA is a well patrolled mountain and typically very few slides occur each season.
As a safety tip, she says that during and after heavy snowfall at any mountain guests should be prepared for hazardous weather and snow conditions by recognizing potential hazards, never skiing alone, never skiing in closed or out of bounds areas and wearing an avalanche beacon or RECCO equipped outerwear at all times.
To learn to recognize potential avalanche conditions Johnson also says that taking an avalanche course is also a good idea.
By the numbers found on avalanche.org , there have been 32 avalanche fatalities in the United States so far this year. Of the 32, 2 were climbers, 4 are listed as hikers, 8 were skiers, 5 were on snowboards, 9 were on snowmobiles, one snowshoer was killed, 2 are listed as other, and one was killed in North Dakota while shoveling a roof.
On one bad day in January, three skiers were killed in three separate slides out of bounds at Mountain High Resort in Southern California. It appears that only one fatality this year was inbounds, at a resort in Utah.