Blog Crystal Ski Patrol Crystal Mountain Washington

I couldn’t sleep last night.

Posted in Avalanche Hazard, Closures

I couldn’t sleep last night.

I was up in a helicopter yesterday putting some large explosives on one of our avalanche slide paths at Crystal when I had a very close call.

As usual we had taken all the safety precautions of confirming the area was closed all day, and guards were posted at the rope lines.  We had a clear view of the slide path and run out when I lit a 25 pound bag of anfo and threw it out the door of the ship.  Then I saw a man skiing over my shot. He was skiing towards my burning explosive and had no idea it was there.

I froze.  Knowing it would detonate in seconds.  I thought I’d be sick.  Here I am trying to keep people safe and open terrain for everyone to ski and I might kill him.  I couldn’t breath.

Fortunately, he kept skiing and the explosive blew up 30 seconds after he skied over it. And fortunately the slope did not release.

I can’t post any pictures or sugar coat this article with how great powder skiing is because I am so angry with poachers for making me this upset.  If the timing had been different I would never be able to live with myself.  I wouldn’t be able to work at Crystal any longer or get a full night of sleep. How could he do this to us?

Don’t poach.

by Christina von Mertens

  • Andrew Longstreth

    Thanks, I too would love to get this event out of my patrol history. He looked right at me while I was yelling at him to stop. Closest call I ha
    ve seen in 30 years as a pro patroller!

    • Kim Kircher

      I hope this can be a lesson to others. This one violator wasn’t alone. There were several tracks on Employee Housing from earlier that day. I just hope people realize that when we close terrain, there’s a very good reason. A 50lb explosive is a pretty darn good reason.