Item: Sluff management
Title: Sluff management
Proceedings: Proceedings of the 1998 International Snow Science Workshop, Sunriver, Oregon
Authors: Jim Conway &Mark Newcomb, Senior Guides, Valdez Heli Ski Guides
Abstract: Since the first World Extreme Skiing Championships in Valdez in 1991, the Chugach Range around the Thompson Pass area has drawn thousands of skiers seeking steep powder and adventure skiing. The spring season often provides "windows" of stability which allows skiers and snowboarders to push into steep, technical, and exposed terrain. The steepest slopes now descended by heli ski operations in the area range from 40 to 60 degrees. While these "windows" of stability may have low hazard in terms of slab potential, sluffs and small point release avalanches remain a hazard. Over the last five years the staff at Valdez Heli Ski Guides have observed the interaction of skiers/boarders with sluffs in various terrain scenarios. The term "Sluff Managemenf was developed to describe the various techniques of avoiding and managing this hazard. The presentation will describe the types of terrain and snowpack where sluffs become a significant hazard that needs to be managed. It will also review the recent evolution of powder specific skis and snowboards and how this relates to managing sluff hazards. Real life examples will be used to represent various scenarios depicting a number of Sluff Management techniques. Many of the techniques to be reviewed have proven significant in reducing the risk of an incident negotiating the steep terrain in the Central Chugach area.
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Keywords: snow slides, avalanche tracks, avalanche triggering
Digital Abstract Not Available