20090430 Spring Avalance Hazards

I think that spring time brings a complacency to Sierra back country skiers and riders.  The days are warm and sunny, and the lack of recent snowfall makes every yawn at the avalanche forecast.  But check out the size of this wet point release, from the Buttress at Alpine Meadows Ski Area:

The debris field is about 150' wide.  Think about what something like this could do if it picked up a rider and carried them through a grove of trees, over a cliff, or into a creek bottom.  Things could turn out Bad.  Very, very Bad.
The other day while skiing Echo Peak I actually had to ski tactically to avoid being hit by snow-wheels and point releases that I had kicked off a few turns earlier.  This is a for-real hazard.
Be safe out there!