Fighting Avalanches With World War II Cannons on Mammoth Mountain

With the massive amount of snowfall on Mammoth Mountain, including its snowiest February in 30 years this winter, ski patrol is using some unorthodox ways to battle potentially fatal avalanches.

As part of its ski patrol unit, the ski resort has an artillery program which uses World War II cannons to ignite snow slides in avalanche prone areas. While most resorts use hand charges, which could potentially be dangerous for the ski patrol, Mammoth has an artillery room where they can open up a window and fire cannons at the beautiful slopes of the mountain.

The goal of the program is to ignite a bunch of small, controlled avalanches during dangerous conditions in order to avoid one large avalanche that could be dangerous to skiers. They have become so experienced at firing the machinery, that they can nail a specific area on the mountain with zero visibility during whiteout conditions.

Great work by these brave and skilled ski patrollers!

Active NorCal

Northern California's Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine

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