The mountains will always be unpredictable. Photo: Sean Zimmerman-Wall

The mountains will always be unpredictable. Photo: Sean Zimmerman-Wall

Words: Erme Catino

On Monday, at 11:45 am, a skier triggered an avalanche in Spot Slot above the High Traverse at Alta Ski Area. What began as a typical powder day quickly morphed into a potentially terrible tragedy. Snow from the avalanche partially buried three skiers on the High Traverse. They were dug out and did not report any injuries, according to Alta Director of Marketing, Connie Marshall.

Skier McKenna Peterson pulled onto the High-T immediately after the avalanche. Trying to head out the traverse she noticed several people scattered around some debris, and then saw the crown above her. “I was shocked, you don’t have that on your mind at the resort… dealing with a slide or hangfire… I automatically turned my beacon to search and offered to help—patrol was on it.”

Five days of storm skiing had everyone at Alta buzzing, but the mood quickly changed when members of ski patrol flew uphill responding to the slide. The High T is a heavily trafficked area, and the outcome of the inbounds slide could have been catastrophic. Though there were no injuries, the slide shook the skiing community. Alta has one of the best snow safety programs in the world. The event was a not so subtle reminder of the unpredictability of the mountains.