The Skeena has some of the best backcountry skiing in the entire world.
But anytime you go backcountry, you face the risk of an avalanche, as Miles Clark experienced firsthand earlier this year near Revelstoke, BC.
I had just skied the same run about 10′ to the right and my guard was 100% down. Honestly, I didn’t even think about avalanches before dropping into this line. I felt like we’d already made our assessment and the snow was stable enough to ski this zone.
There were also tracks everywhere luring me into a false sense of security. I was wrong. I ripped out a 10″ deep, 50′ wide class 1 avalanche that took me for a 200′ ride. I was able to stay over my skis and ski out of the avalanche. I was able to pull my avalanche airbag backpack while in the slide.
The experience was harrowing. I got going damn fast and snow was starting to come up over my body and splash my face. I was able to stay calm and focused on escaping the avalanche. To me, it felt huge and scary and like I was going to be buried if I didn’t release from the avalanche.
This was a lesson learned. I’m going to try to always keep my guard up and always reassess every slope before I drop in. Thanks to my strong partners today for being ready to rock in every situation. I have 2 different perspectives of the avalanche in this post – forward and backwards for learning.
Here are some resources from the Bulkley Backcountry Ski Society.