Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Avalanche control is more than just a bomb………

Living in a small mountain town you become accustomed to blasts in the early mornings, signs of “skull & bones” that advise for danger, and “avi controlled” areas within the resort that you can’t ski. I learned this from my “locals” around the world. The less you flinch…..the longer you been here!

To make the slopes “fun, groomed, and safe” it takes a lot of early season work and continued help throughout the day and night for “perfection.” Sno-cats move endlessly throughout the night to pass over the fairways of winter. People walk up and down staircases of ice and fluff to “secure and pack” the snow for children to experience their “first try.” Patrollers clock-in, time and time again, in the dark of morning to get ropes, bamboo, signs, and areas ready for the day. Bombs litter the high elevation like dark holes in white Swiss Cheese.

People across the globe have been involved with snow and it’s massive force for centuries. They have battled glaciers, snowstorms, avalanches, and Mother Nature since the existence of humanity. Where have you seen nature and realized how meaningless you really are? Have you scaled a mountain recently? When do you walk and realize that the trees, earth, and environment that engulf you are more than you will ever become? It’s easy when you sit at the top of a field that is filled to the knee in untouched snow; when the breeze blows you can see the snow fall from the branches and leave the first “indent” of the day on the ocean of powder’s top layer.

We all enjoy the winter life and the burst of adrenaline every time we sit on the chairlift. It’s something that is synonymous with winter. The experiences with friends on the mountain, from the first time to the last time, are always something we remember and yearn to re-live. Some of us can’t imagine a winter without walking to the slopes daily; but all of us can recall the first time you put on a pair of goggles and headed out for the day.

Next time you’re about to get your gear ready, think of all the people working behind the scenes like the “airport of winter.” The people tirelessly pushing buttons, controlling machines, and serving up love all over the Mountain. They keep it safe, controlled, and open for you, the end user, to remember the days of laughs, pictures, and happiness.

All the work starts when the chairlifts stop…………

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