Friday, November 21, 2014

Ski Cutting - What, Why, How?

There are entire chapters of books dedicated to defining ski cutting.Very generally ski cuts are ski tracks typically cutting across areas prone to avalanche. Once multiple ski cuts overlap each other, they often make an argyle pattern. We do a lot of it at The Basin. Here are just a few very basic explanations of why we ski cut.

1.  Ski cutting often follows avalanche explosive work and helps reduce the chance of avalanches occurring. Following ski cutting, staff may sidestep, bootpack, or ski an avalanche path. These combined activities help break up snow slabs that may otherwise slide.

2.  Ski cutting is a method used by patrollers to reduce the chance of staff getting injured. Workers try and move from relatively safe spot to relatively safe spot minimizing their exposure to avalanche zones. Ski Cutting is always done one person at a time, with the appropriate equipment, and never alone. A partner is always watching the skier, prepared to help if needed.

3.  Ski cutting is one of many steps that help create better snow conditions. These activities pack down the snow and break up funky, early season layers. As new snow falls on the impacted snow, outstanding ski conditions develop.