Ski Resorts Work To Prevent Avalanches - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Ski Resorts Work To Prevent Avalanches

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When you think of avalanches, you probably think about heavy snow, in the back country.

But as we've seen, the past few days, there's also avalanches at ski resorts.

That's why they do their part to try to keep that risk down to a minimum.

More than a foot of snow dropped at Mt. Rose, last night.

The ski patrol does avalanche control anytime it snows more than ten inches.

"We throw explosive charges to test the stability of the snow, and if we find instabilities, we use explosives to mitigate that hazard," Mt. Rose Ski Patrol Director Mike Ferrari said.

While certain areas may or may not have the potential for an avalanche, there is a method for narrowing down the spots that are more at risk.

"We're looking at the weather," Ferrari said. "We're figuring out how much snow we're going to get, where the wind is blowing, which direction, and we try to go out into the field, having a general idea of what we expect to happen."

Those conditions can also change throughout the day, as the weather changes.

So Ferrari says they never make assumptions, and that keeps people safe.

It also gives those with little ones some peace of mind.

"That's absolutely critical," Erika Pollard said. "They work hard to make sure that everybody is safe and you just make sure you keep your kids on safe runs."

Others will venture out away from the safety of the ski area, but they say they know the risks and take precautions.

"We're pretty experienced people, so sometimes we go out of bounds but you've always got to keep aware of your surroundings and keep your speed up and always be with a buddy," Luke Hess said. "That's the most important part. You don't want to get stuck alone."

While the recent storms do mean more avalanche danger, the snow also means big business for ski resorts.

"This is everything you would ever want in a holiday weekend," Mt. Rose Marketing Director Mike Pierce said. A lot of fresh snow, absolutely perfect conditions."

With Christmas behind us, the new snow also means good conditions for the weekend, and into the New Year's holiday.

"I snowboarded Monday, Tuesday, and today," Nir Voloshin said. "Perfect snow every day. I couldn't ask for anything better."

"It's unbelievable," Jeff Lenardson said. "After a rough last year, for us to have consistent snow is nice. It helps the economy, it helps the ski area. I'm just having a good time."

For skiers and snowboarders, the more snow, the better.

Officials, at Mt. Rose, say they've already had more snow this year than they had all of last year.

Written by Paul Nelson
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