Yesterday the New York Times came out with an article about the avalanche at Stevens Pass last February that killed three backcountry skiiers. The Tunnel Creek tragedy. A group of very expert freeskiers were running the back side of the ski area and ... well, that is the story.
There is a reason to post a link here on NWCitizen to that story at the NYT. The online version of it is ground breaking in its use of all the Internet provides us for presenting information, stories, reporting or opinion. Indeed what our big-city friends from way back east have done is moved the top standard way ahead of where it has been. And it shows how we can use the Internet and computers to better inform and educate ourselves. I think this article will live as a touchstone in future years. “Awesome” applies.
It is long - 16,000 words. But you can enjoy it by skimming a thousand words and playing the graphics and short videos. In Bellingham and Whatcom County we have many expert skiers who have studied avalanches, who enjoy backcountry skiing and who will find the full reading of this story an enjoyable read and a valuable insight into last winter's tragedy.
New York Times - Snow Fall - the Avalanche at Tunnel Creek, by John Branch - Thursday, December 20, 2012
I used to ski - and would like to again. I started at age two on a hill in northern Wisconsin. My father and his friends founded the Vagabond Ski Club of Green Bay back in the 1930s. All us kids grew up with the rope tow at the ski hill on the east side of town out by Baird's Creek. I skiied for decades and did not think I would ever not ski. It included backcountry, including a good attempt at a winter climb of Mt Shuksan in 1970 from Baker Lake. One photo I took on that trip was later used by National Geographic, but all of them are personal treasures. This story hit home and I have my own opinions now on why this happened. With this excellent chronicle, others skiers can read and also imagine themselves there at Tunnel Creek last February and ponder what they would have said or done.