April 20 update: Heather Canyon opened at 11:31 AM from A-Zone to 1/2 Moon Bowl Wednesday. We'll continue to evaluate and control daily, and open when conditions allow.
Those that frequent this blog know that Heather hasn't been open much this wintery spring – due to continued avalanche potential from outside of our permit area. That potential displayed with large avalanches on March 10 and on March 30, both of which deposited debris next to the bottom terminal of the Heather lift, burying the run out to the bottom of the lift. The later one on the 30th started well above our permit area similar to last year’s event just much larger (see 1.21.10 blog posting "Anatomy of an Avalanche
With the unusual wintery weather we've received this spring, including more than four feet of snow the first week of April, the snow continues to reload and the avalanche hazard continues to be a concern. Similar weather and snow conditions exist and it is above the permit area that we have the most concerns. All of that must be taken into consideration when determining whether the canyon should be opened.
Our Pro Patrol continues to use artillery, throw explosives by hand and dig pits in an effort to reopen the canyon. There's a lot of snowcat work to make the lift accessible, including needing to dig the bottom of the lift out to be able to even load the chair. Due to the conditions snowcats have had very limited access time to conduct the work needed.
As we look forward to this week's forecast, we see some sunny days. That's promising as this weather may create a freeze / thaw pattern which could help to improve avalanche conditions above our permit area.
We haven't given up on the canyon – we will continue to evaluate conditions in and above, perform avalanche hazard reduction operations within our permit area and open it when conditions allow. We thank you for your patience, and for abiding by the closed rope boundaries. We want to open the canyon as much as our most passionate Heather enthusiasts, but only when we feel the conditions are appropriate to do so.