Powder Starvation, Mt. Rainier. Scott Rinckenberger photo
Warren Miller has this old saying: “Every second, of every day, it’s snowing
The staff at NWAC is now well into 2015 and our first series of Avalanche Watches and Warnings are behind us. In their wake they left a once saturated, now
It’s clear we’re in for an odd winter. If history has taught us anything, it’s that the avalanche game – this dance between terrain, weather, snowpack and us – odd winters almost always result in odd avalanche conditions. There have certainly been enough unique and extreme weather events this season that my overall level of uncertainty is higher than normal, thus lowering my confidence. It’s getting tougher to roll with the punches, isn’t it?
How to move forward in this “odd” season? One thing I am doing is ramping up my sensitivity to the feedback I’m getting from my peers and the environment. I am trying to resist the desire to go from “winter’s not quite here yet” to “game on!” In doing so, it’s been critical to watch my mindset and try to match it with the conditions at hand. This has been especially tough with the frenetic and stubborn weather patterns we’ve been seeing. After last week’s stagnant,
Mazama Bowl Wet Slabs. Jeremy Allyn photo
Getting your timing right is perhaps the most critical component to a fun and safe day in the mountains – especially these days. Find yourself up high enjoying some storm snow a bit too late in the day and that temperature spike hits? Well, you’ll be hard pressed to escape cleanly from even the most accessible terrain this weekend. Proper timing – over the course of a day or an entire season – is a central component to sound decision-making and the management of avalanche risk. And while my trust in our weather forecasters is solid, I have to admit that my confidence and my levels of uncertainty are such that this season I’m more watchful than ever.
It’s going to be an interesting “odd” season. But fear not! This IS the PNW and we’re in for tons of cold storm cycles with great skiing and riding conditions. Watch your mindset and the conditions and be patient, so when the timing is right, you can enjoy all that we have to offer with confidence.
-Jeremy Allyn, NWAC Professional Observer
-Photo Creds: Scott Rinckenberger and Jeremy Allyn