Skier-Triggered Avalanche Hits Mount Shasta’s Gray Butte

Photo: Mount Shasta Avalanche Center

Another avalanche was ignited near the Mt. Shasta Ski Park this week, this time on Gray Butte near the slopes of the brand-new lift.

The Mount Shasta Avalanche Center reported an avalanche on the west side of Gray Butte Sunday, with the snow releasing at about 2.5 feet of depth. The avalanche was triggered by an intentional ski cut and no one was injured in the incident.

Photo: Mount Shasta Avalanche Center

The avalanche, along with the avalanche on Saturday on Coyote Butte, was caused by a layer of graupel sitting about 2 feet below soft snow. The graupel, which is a term for soft hail or snow pellets, caused a weak layer of snow which was then covered by the heavy snowfall. Here’s a great explanation of the event from Nick Meyers at the Mount Shasta Avalanche Center:

The avalanche comes just a day after the release on the backside of Coyote Butte early Saturday morning, with the crown measuring in at about 2 feet thick. It’s a reminder to be safe in the backcountry during these major winter storms.

The Mt. Shasta Ski Park is currently open, including the brand-new Gray Butte lift. Have fun on the slopes!

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