Thursday, December 6, 2012

Let it snow

Busy busy week this week, so no official Thursday Adventure post.  But in honor of my three year old putting skis on for the first time tomorrow - albeit at an indoor practice slope, not yet a mountain (best to let him first try skiing without having to deal with all the bulky clothing) - I gotta say: LET IT SNOW.  It's been one heck of a warm, dry winter here in Colorado so far.  Really hoping that changes.  Maybe if we make a few shrines to the snow gods...


Then maybe we'll get some epic snow, like the kind we had in Utah one Christmas...

Robert and I trapped inside the Cliff Lodge at Snowbird.  The avalanche danger during heavy snowstorms in Little Cottonwood Canyon is so high that everyone at the ski areas is forbidden to step outside.  Snow crews use artillery guns mounted on top of the buildings, firing shells at the canyon slopes all throughout the storm, trying to prevent the snowpack from building up to the point that slides could destroy the resort.  For a powder skier, there's nothing like hearing the whump of cannon fire all night long.  You know the skiing's gonna be EPIC.  

Our friend Jim enjoying an epic powder day.


5 comments:

  1. Wow. That scene of them firing artillery all night to keep avalanches at bay would be a great scene in a fantasy novel, with a wizard shooting fireballs.

    And when a sign says, "It is illegal to leave this building," you're supposed to freak out instead of grin like you're having the time of your life. Well, unless you're a skier. :-)

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    1. We looked less happy when they wouldn't let us out to ski the next morning. :P Took until mid-afternoon before ski patrol judged the slopes safe enough...and even then, they only opened a single lift, for about 2 hours, before they made us all go back inside again. (It was still snowing. Biggest storm I've ever experienced.)

      My husband pointed me to these two cool videos: the first was made by Snowbird ski patrol after a similarly massive storm in Dec 2007, and shows the Cliff Lodge gun firing:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRy0RA3gsyE
      And the second is of a hand-charge triggered avalanche at Alta:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSIsdCtG54Q

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    2. Wow. I can't imagine getting that much snow, or handling it in that way.

      I went looking to see what kind of artillery they're using and found this video.

      http://youtu.be/2CElkhmtbKo

      Someone's got to make a video game where you ski as you're being shelled and then you ride the avalanche down. I bet it'll be in the next James Bond.

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    3. I heard that recently Alta and Snowbird had to upgrade to a 105mm Howitzer because the army no longer makes the right ammo for the old artillery guns they were using. (Cost of new Howitzer: $375K. No wonder lift tickets are expensive. Though Alta actually has one of the cheapest tickets in the entire US, which is ironic since they have pretty much the best skiing in the entire US!)

      Wasn't there skiing (and explosives!) in the start to A View to a Kill? No avalanche though. Clearly they need to do a badass new take on the idea. (The ski sequence in The World Is Not Enough was just lame.)

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