Tunnel Creek Avalanche 2012

Stevens Pass Slide Area

Three experienced skiers were killed in the Stevens Pass Tunnel Creek Avalanche according to Katie Larson, a spokeswoman with the King County Sheriff’s Office and a snowboarder just outside of The Summit at Snoqualmie. Both incidents happened in out-of-bounds areas known at Tunnel Creek accessed from the ski resorts.

Tunnel Creek Avalanche Victims

One of the skiers that died is reported to be Jim Jack, the head judge on the Freeski World Tour and IFSA. As well as Stevens Pass Director of Marketing Chris Rudolph. These are incredibly hard losses for the ski industry.

Almost two feet of snow has fallen across Washington this weekend with Stevens Pass picking up 19″ in the last 24 hours and The Summit at Snoqualmie receiving 18.”

Sunday's Washington Avalanche Forecast

Sunday’s Washington Avalanche Forecast

Northwest Avalanche Center Forecast

“Heavy snowfall caused widespread natural and triggered soft and wind slab avalanches. This includes a report from the ranger at Hurricane where avalanches blocked the road on Saturday. Natural and triggered soft or wind slab avalanches typically in the 1-2 foot range were also reported from ski patrols at Baker, Stevens, and Alpental. Shallower smaller 4-8 inch triggered soft slab avalanches were reported on lee slopes above 6000 feet at Crystal. Weak layers were reported at the interface from early in the week and at temporary weak storm layers within the new snow”.

Anytime red flag conditions exist in the backcountry extreme caution must be exercised or accidents like this will continue to happen.

Mt Baker Avalanche 2-19-11 *camera phone picture

Mt Baker Avalanche 2-19-11 *camera phone picture

While at Mt. Baker on the same day a big slide ripped on Hemi’s a slope we had just skied hours before leaving a two-foot deep crown that ended up moving lots of snow down the slope. Be smart, live to ride and ski another day.

Our condolences go out to the victims, and families of everyone involved. It looks like these were all people that loved the mountains as much as we do…

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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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