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Near Miss: Girdwood

Location: Surprise Bowl

Date
Sun, April 14th, 2013
Activity
Ski
Fatalities
0
Summary
3 skiers caught and carried, two separate parties, all ok.
Accident Report

Third skier down slope triggered a wind slab avalanche that caught and carried the skier before they were able to self-arrest on the bed surface. Two people, from a separate party, ascending from below were caught in the debris and partially buried.

Avalanche details:

Type: Soft slab (this was a wind slab avalanche that triggered a soft slab pocket lower on slope)
Aspect: W
Angle: 37-43 degrees
Elevation: 4,100′
Size estimate: 200′ wide, running 1,100′ x 8-14″ deep
Trigger: Skier unintentional (many tracks on slope)
Weak Layer: Near surface facets and decomposing particles over a crust
Debris: ~5-12′ deep