Snow Study Pit Propagation Video From Utah Avalanche Center

Snow Study

Trent Meisenheimer and Brett Kobernik of the Utah Avalanche Center captured some incredible footage of weak snow layers that are plaguing most of the western United States this winter. The footage was captured thanks to their trusty GoPro camera.

Watch as the facets literally explode out the bottom of the pit wall on the 20th tap of the shovel. So what can we learn from this?

Pit Propagation Test Video:

#1. The weak layers are here to stay for the season
#2. Even columns that were 5 feet and 9 feet and length were able to sheer off with ease.
#3. 20+ taps on the shovel is a lot. Make sure you go through all the steps to ensure the snow your going to ride is stable, it is never overkill to dig a pit, test and repeat!! (Just be sure to fill the holes back in)
#4. Have the right tools to check the snowpack!

Additional Footage

This footage from Utah shows that sometimes more then a traditional extended column test is needed to test a slopes stability and hidden layers in the snow. Even after repeated whacks with his hand (almost to bruising levels) they were unable to see results..

But this doesn’t mean they can’t trigger avalanches. All you need to do is find a weak spot in the snow pack, collapse the slope initiate the fracture and your off.

Propagation Saw Test Video

This video was made by Trent Meisenheimer of the Utah Avalanche Center. These guys know snow, and we all can learn from the pros.

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About the Author

Mike Hardaker
Mike Hardaker grew up surfing and snowboarding in Orange County and followed his love of surfing to Hawaii before eventually moving to the mountains to concentrate on snowboarding. When not on a board, Mike worked for Snowboarder and later oversaw TGR's online publication. He went on to found Mountain Weekly News where he is still CEO and Editor in Chief. Mike spends most of his time splitboarding in the winter months and backpacking throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in the summer.

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