Observation: Hatcher Pass

Location: Bullion Mountain (west side second bowl back) Willow side of Hatcher Pass-(out of forecast zone)

Route & General Observations

Noticed a large recent avalanche that I was curious to take a closer look at. Upon riding up to the toe of the avalanche I came upon a machine that had recently been parked. My stomach sank as I realized the probability that we were coming upon a burial was highly likely. Fortunately, the person buried had already been dug out without injury and they had just finished digging out the riders sled. We didn’t interact much with the group, however they did state that the slide was triggered about mid slope. At that point they tried to outrun it and were over taken before pulling their airbag and became buried approximately 3 feet deep. I didn’t gather how long they were buried for but they were wearing a beacon. Had the rider not made it out of the terrain trap, I believe the likely hood of this being fatal would have been very high. A lucky day and very very close call. An unfortunate but sobering reminder that LOW DANGER DOES NOT MEAN NO DANGER. Be mindful of runout zones and always have an exit plan should things go south. I hope the rider/group involved posts a more detailed report so that we may all learn from this.

Contact, Location & General Observations
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Forecaster Comments

This avalanche demonstrates the variability in the snowpack that exists from one side of Hatcher Pass to another. Although the Willow side near Lucky Shot it is out of our forecast zone, it is extremely valuable information. Without further investigation we believe that the winds were considerably stronger in the beginning of the last storm (Lucky Shot data) and build wind slabs with lingering sensitivity in this area. We don't know how much new snow accumulated in this area. This is a good reason to use the forecast as a starting point for gathering more data prior to making decisions in the backcountry. Glad everyone is ok. Thanks for sharing.

Avalanche Details
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Near Miss / Accident Details
Number Caught/Carried? 1Number Partially Buried?0
Number Fully Buried? 1Number Injured?0
Number Fatalities?0  
Red Flags
Red flags are simple visual clues that are a sign of potential avalanche danger. Please record any sign of red flags below.
Obvious signs of instability
Recent Avalanches?Yes
Collapsing (Whumphing)?No
Cracking (Shooting cracks)?No
Observer Comments

We saw another recent snowmachine triggered avalanche on the exact same aspect in the bowl next to this one to the south. The rider that triggered this slide may not have seen that.

Weather & Snow Characteristics
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Blue bird, no wind, recent snow

Photos & Video
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