January 27, 2008
Today's Los Angeles Times has more coverage on the Mountain High/Wrightwood Avalanches, with some commentary from avalanche professionals:
"There have been avalanche fatalities since people have been in the Alps, but what has changed is the equipment has gotten better and there's a lot of hype associated with the outdoor retail industry," said Sue Burak, an avalanche forecaster for the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center. "They're encouraging people to go out, and the level of backcountry skills haven't caught up with the technology."
"In Southern California, having these big dumps of powder are not real common," said Northwest Avalanche Institute expert Paul Baugher. "And so there's two things going on here. One is, people are sort of unfamiliar with how dangerous this can be. Even if you're a professional, you don't have that experience of actually seeing these [avalanches] released. On top of that, it's so rare. It's wonderful skiing, and you're drawn to that."
Here's the full article.