High avalanche danger led to a snow slide in bounds at the June Mountain Ski Area. A local snowboarder was carried on a wave of snow and suffered minor injuries.
Skiing below the Mid Chalet, the snowboarder triggered a slide in an area that had seen much avalanche control over the past few days. When the pocket of powder slid, the boarder was carried about 100 feet before he hit a tree and stopped. The avalanche continued down the slope without him. Hitting obstacles like trees and rocks while being carried by an avalanche commonly cause major trauma, but in this case the snowboarder was relatively uninjured.
This slide was on the lower portion of June Mountain, where warm storms in January had dropped rain contributing to a rotten layer of snow underneath the fresh snow that fell over this last weekend.
With this human triggered avalanche in bounds in an area that had seen avalanche control efforts with hand charges and ski cutting, Sue Burak with the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center reports that a skier could probably trigger a slide on a similar slope, elevation and aspect outside of the ski area. The avalanche danger for Thursday is listed as considerable in the June Lake area.
Skiing at a resort drastically reduces the chances of being caught in a slide but doesnt fully eliminate the risk. Whether you are a resort only skier, or you like to head out into the back-country, a little knowledge can go a long way to staying safe.
The Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center is hosting a free avalanche awareness event at the June Lake Community Center Saturday night. Eric Diem with June Mountain Ski Patrol is scheduled to give a presentation. June Mountain Ski Patroller and guide with Sierra Mountain Guides, Neil Satterfield will be giving a presentation as well. Avalanche Forecaster Sue Burak will give a talk on forecasting avalanches. The plan is to also show the avalanche safety video, entitled The Fine Line.
This free event starts at 6:00 pm at the June Lake Community Center, located near the Gull Lake Marina.