Mountain Ops | Snowmakers from Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows on Vimeo.

It’s that time of the year again. The temperatures have plummeted, storm are moving towards the Tahoe-Truckee Region, and Squaw has fired up their snowmaking machines and are preparing the mountain for opening day. This year Squaw Valley has released their first installment of their new video series Mountain Ops, Snowmakers, where they take you behind the scenes to see what snowmaking is really all about and the challenges that come with the occupation.

Great Days 17: Wide-Eyed in the Alps from smith optics on Vimeo.

Not quite sure what to expect from their first trip to the Alps at, Leo Ahrens and Zach Halverson, were greeted by the best of both worlds, alternating heavy snow dumps to blue bird days making for a series of great days. Through their days at the Alps, Ahrens and Halverson got to take in the breathtaking views while shredding down chutes and popping off pillows of powder. These guys took full advantage of their time spent there, and certainly didn’t have any problems adapting to the new terrain.

Late - Salomon Freeski TV S8 E04 from Salomon Freeski on Vimeo.

That feeling you get when you’re waiting for a late winter, that you’re not really sure is ever going to come. If you’ve lived in the Sierras for the couple seasons, it’s probably a feeling that you know. Late – Salomon Freeski TV, Season 8: Episode 4, reflects upon the stages of optimism and doubt that passionate skiers may experience while waiting for winter.

Black Diamond Presents: The Human Factor, a five-part multi-media story that investigates the decisions skiers make in avalanche terrain.   Starting November 11th, every Tuesday for five weeks, a new chapter will be released.  How did it all start?  Read the Forward Written By John Stifter, an author of POWDER Magazine and be sure to check out the webpage The Human Factor.


Forward Written By John Stifter:
“On February 19, 2012, I sat on cement-like snow next to two dead bodies. A space blanket covering one of them flapped in the wind. A coat covered the other—my friend who I drank beers with less than 24 hours earlier. The avalanche debris, chunks the size of massive boulders, fanned out below my ski boots. I looked across the valley to the snow-covered trees veiled in rolling fog. The sweat on my back—from shoveling heavy snow to retrieve my friend, buried six feet deep, and trying to revive him with CPR for 30 minutes—was freezing up. I felt alive but dead. Angry, baffled, numb, scared, sad. “What just happened?” I asked myself. “How did I get here?” Over and over, I said I was never skiing again. “I’m done with this stupid sport.” My identity, largely formed by skiing, vanished.

A few months later, calmer and more collected but still buried by grief, I elected to return to my post at POWDER magazine. I was spared from the Tunnel Creek avalanche at Stevens Pass that took three people—two of which were friends. Looking for answers to my questions, I set out to educate myself and friends on what got us into trouble: despite years of knowledge and experience skiing in avalanche terrain, the decisions we made, or didn’t, failed us. I realized, more than snow science, human factors caused the tragedy. Slowly, I started to regain my identity as a skier, realizing I could make choices to avoid future tragedy in the mountains.

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