April 13 Update: There is a possibility that Heather could get open this weekend. Because we have received less snow than forecast, The snow that did fall the last few days blew into debris well. We will evaluate whether we can get a cat to the debris pile so an experienced cat driver can push passageways. Very tricky work. Then we need it not to rain today. And avalanche mitigation today in the Canyon needs to go smoothly. If all that happens, then it’s possible that at least part of Heather Canyon could be opened this weekend.
From Snow Safety Supervisor Brian Murphy
April 10, 2019
Today we found evidence of two very large avalanches, in Heather Canyon. One came out of the Basalts (above A- Zone) and the other out of Super Bowl. Both were triggered by Artillery yesterday.
We triggered a large slide today out of upper clark today with Artillery. The crown was estimated to be twenty feet deep.
Both these runout tracks have created a hazard that will make both egress for the skiing public as well as rescue very challenging. There are 30 foot tall piles of debris in spots and no way to navigate easily through the debris at the bottom of the foothills to the chair.
Historically these large avalanches have been followed by multiple large avalanche events. When followed by large weather events. It is our belief that once a track has been put in it is easier for other large avalanches to follow the same track and run farther than the previous, as evident in the 2010/2011 events.
We are set up to receive a considerable amount of snowfall over the next few days and through the weekend, which concerns us for further re-loading and repeat avalanche events.
We will be keeping Heather Canyon closed at least through the weekend. We will continue to evaluate how much of the debris is filled in with the incoming snow and what machinery we can utilize in order to create egress from Heather Canyon, once the weather clears.