Snow can be a lot like people in that it doesn’t do well with rapid changes and often needs a bit of time to adjust. It sounds like their snowpack is upside down and this was a bunch of heavy, wet new snow and a lot of wind. It looks like it slid somewhere near the ridge line of that little summit area. That’s not surprising really. I’ve definitely learned over the years skiing during hundreds of heavy storm days to be constantly aware of changing conditions and to never rely on others to tell you what’s safe or not safe.
There’s definitely a lot of pressure on patrols to get things open now with social media and the constant desire to one up the post from the day before but patrol can never be on top of everything with large, rugged western ski areas. There’s always going to be a level of risk out there.
That's nuts. Just emphasises how hard it is to not only predict, but control avalanches.
When I was living in Summit County one winter, I showed up at ABasin and there was a long "stain" on the East Wall (a patroller called it a "diaper stain"). It was a narrow avi that was half rocks and boulders and debris that a bomb from the day before set off. You wouldn't have been just buried, you would have been ground to parts. And yet, we were allowed to ski right up and over that thing the very next day. Why was the wall safe then, 24 hours later?
Alpine had the worst inbounds slide in American history back in the 80s. It actually took out a building and buried the parking lot. It was still very front of mind when I was there. I remember a couple lifties took advantage of their access to get first tracks and were spotted by some patrollers that we’re still out throwing bombs. Those guys got in a lot of trouble.