Boomerang OpenPosted: November 21, 2009
If all goes according to plan, Boomerang will open to the public for the first time this season later today (Sat). The bowl itself has been loaded with snow for a while now, but a few things have prevented us from opening that terrain sooner.
First were the open creeks at the end of the outrun flats, at the Hump. It’s the only way to exit the area, and there needed to be enough snow to fill in the creeks. Also, we’ve been faced with the same avalanche conditions that exist elsewhere on the mountain – conditions that have produced large avalanches in much of our alpine terrain, thanks to the rain crust and layer of faceted crystals formed in October.
Similar to the results we saw a few days ago in Whitehorn II C and D Gullies, the avalanche teams were working their way along the hike to Upper Boomerang, throwing shots to control the slope along the way. When they arrived at the top of Brownshirt, they saw that almost the entire slope had avalanched, likely from one of the shots thrown earlier hundreds of metres away. The avalanche also reached into the skier’s left flank of Shoulder Roll, and based on these results, the avalanche teams had to do more laps through the area to ensure they removed the risk, and to set up the long fence lines that are needed to control this large piece of terrain. The fence line that divides Brownshirt from Boomerang and Shoulder Roll had to be placed on steel rails pounded into the ground, since the snow in which they usually sit had all slid away.
Skiers traveling to Boomerang may notice that F and G Gullies of Whitehorn II look to be in great shape. True, there’s lots of snow in both of those gullies, but they are subject to the same crust and facet layers that exist elsewhere, and it’s now almost a certainty that those will slide as well in the near future – whether naturally or as the result of explosive control work. Hard to watch, but necessary so that the run can rebuild with a more stable snowpack.
So, for those who have their hearts set on skiing some of this terrain, do not only watch for snow in forecasts, but also for wind, since these are leeward slopes, and wind is instrumental in filling them in with snow.