The saga continues for the winter 2008/2009 snowpack here in Crested Butte. Persistent weak layers, basal facets, natural avalanches and HIGH avalanche danger for over a week now. We saw the sun for a few hours yesterday, but it seems like we’re going to continue to receive heavy snowfall.

As the skeptical students rolled in ready to go out into the backcountry and experience our first Hut Based Avalanche Course of the season, they all had their doubts about the probability of our launch into the Gothic backcountry due to the conditions. Our unique and popular hut based program allows students full immersion into the backcountry without the distractions of town.

As with all backcountry skiing endeavors our goals are often dictated by the stability of the snowpack and a group’s ability to make sound decisions. Sometimes we aim for the steep and deep, and in this case our goals were to stay safe and learn about our unstable snowpack. With HIGH danger in the forecast one of our main goals turned into avalanche terrain recognition as well as avoidance due to the increased hazard.

Check out this short movie shot over the weekend shot at the beautiful new Maroon Hut and out in the field during companion rescue practice.

[vimeo 2604092]

At course end all of these motivated and sharp students learned a lot about traveling in the backcountry environment in even the most unstable of conditions. Thanks to my great group of six that really contributed to an excellent ans safe weekend!


Mike Bromberg

Mike Bromberg

PS- I’m iching to ski some stable snow, how about you? Heli-ski touring in Valdez from $250!