Saturday, December 8, 2018 - 10:30am
Release from Mammoth Mountain today:
At 9:24AM on Saturday, December 8 a group of guests triggered a small slide in the Head Chutes area of Cloud Nine Express. A 30 year old female skier was traversing below as the slide was triggered, she was carried over a band of rocks and came to a stop. Ski Patrol was on site immediately and transported the skier to Mammoth Hospital. There are no reports of any other injuries. Cloud Nine Express temporarily closed and reopened at 10:26AM.
Winds picked up out of the SW last night and transported loose snow over the ridgetop and deposited it just below ridgelines and sidewalls of gullies. The wind slab that was triggered in this incident most likely was not there the day before. Despite no new snow since Wednesday, this is a prime example of how safe avalanche conditions can become dangerous due to wind. Even though this was an inbounds avalanche in a ski area, it is a good reminder for backcountry users to pay attentiion to the weather, and to also practice safe travel protocols such as exposing one person at a time on steep slopes.
*Ski patrol can not control every nook and cranny of any mountain, and this is a good reminder that even inbounds avalaches can happen.