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Explosives Missing From Winter Park Colorado

Kicking Horse's Photo Kicking Horse 23 Mar 2004

Explosives Stolen From Winter Park Resort
Sheriff, ATF Investigating Break-In

POSTED: 12:44 pm MST March 23, 2004

DENVER -- The Grand County Sheriff's Office and Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating the theft of explosives from the Winter Park Resort.

Monday, resort employees discovered that a facility used to store avalanche prevention equipment, including explosives, was broken into and some explosives were taken.

Winter Park did not reveal the amount or type of explosives taken.

The sheriff's office and ATF investigators are working to identify the person or people responsible for the theft and to recover the stolen explosives. They are also trying to determine when the crime may have occurred.

The ATF set up a hot line for information about the crime. Anyone with information is asked to call (888) 283-2662.

The Grand County Sheriff's Office also has a Crime Stoppers hot line set up at (970) 725-3226.

(from 7news in colorado)
The type of Explosiveses stolen was used for Blasting Snow
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jeffgladnick's Photo jeffgladnick 25 Mar 2004

Well i remember being at Aspen Highlands this year, and seeing a ski patroller emerge from one of two identical concrete "huts" which i could peer into.

The thing was filled from the floor to the ceiling with dynamite, clearly labeled. We had stopped to ask him directions, and when i commented that there was a "hell of a lot of dynamite in there" he kind of nervously smiled and said "uhhh, yeaaaahh... you're really not supposed to see that"

It had two big locks on it, but i suppose if someone was determined enough.....
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KZ's Photo KZ 25 Mar 2004

Ive seen a few of those things at sierra
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floridaskier's Photo floridaskier 25 Mar 2004

When they want to blast for avalanches, do they plant the dynamite on the mountain and then set it off with a detonator, or do they launch it?
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edmontonguy's Photo edmontonguy 25 Mar 2004

It all depends on where they want to blast. Mountains by highways are blasted through Guns which launch the charge high onto the mountain where access is difficult or imposible. For areas like Marmot Basin which has a long avalanche prone ridge i beleive they blast it using airborne charges as acssess is very difficult. Also i have seen snow "horns" used. these are fixed horn shaped devices which are located in high avalanche areas they use a Propane mixture to create a "note" which resonates disloding any loose snow.
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KZ's Photo KZ 25 Mar 2004

Also ski patrol will go with hand explosives, light them then throw them down the ridge below.
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liftmech's Photo liftmech 25 Mar 2004

Typical avalanche control programmes include hand charges (12" sticks of dynamite), avalauncher rounds (dynamite-tipped projectiles propelled by a charge of compressed nitrogen; principle is known to millions of bored high-schoolers as a potato gun), ski-cutting (wherein a team of patrollers will zigzag across a slope while hopping on their skis), and the occasional milk jug full of ammonium nitrate (used more for the sound than the explosive power, but occasionally a whole bag will have a hand charge placed inside it as a detonator and the bag will be dropped somewhere).
Hand charges are tossed at the normal fracture or release zone in a slide area; usually these have been mapped out for years and have detailed accounts of how much H.E. to use in any given snow condition. Avalauncher rounds are used in similar situations as the highway department uses howitzer rounds, where you want no-one in the way of a possible release. Ski cutting happens if there's only a small amount of new snow and release probability is low; the hopping is a method of determining how stable the snowpack is. Ampho (ammonium nitrate) is used mostly in marine snowpacks when it's been dumping for days and the slide areas are quite loaded. I've seen 50-lb. bags of ampho dropped from helicopters because that was the only safe way to deliver them.
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edmontonguy's Photo edmontonguy 25 Mar 2004

Driving along most mountian higways but the Icefeilds Parkway (running from banff to jasper down the spine of the rockies) especially small "turrets" can be seen from where Howitzer rounds are fired.

Before any rounds are set off is a sweep of the area required? And for projectiles is a warning needed and how is it delivered?
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ccslider's Photo ccslider 25 Mar 2004

The "Horn" type device that burns propane is called Gas-Ex. You can see a good example of this along Carson Pass near Kirkwood. Fairly pricey capital installation cost but good for multiple uses in the same area.

Liftmech gave a good synopsis of different avi mitigations. Another one is the bombtram, where hand charges are ferried out to a starting zone by a mini-tramway (like a jig-back system) that can be powered by all sorts of means including a hand crank. Put extra long fuses and ferry the device to where you want it and bang - big airblast to give the snowpack a shake.
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liftmech's Photo liftmech 25 Mar 2004

edmontonguy, on Mar 25 2004, 06:31 PM, said:

Before any rounds are set off is a sweep of the area required? And for projectiles is a warning needed and how is it delivered?

If there is to be any control work during operation the area will be closed. Usually control is done before operation, though. Any time after 7 AM (at Copper, anyway) patrol will announce when and where the work will take place over the radio: 'Fire in the hole, Union Bowl, next half-hour.' There is one face that runs side-by side with the ramp at the top of the Flyer (photo below); this will occasionally be done while operators are setting up, and patrol will also phone the top shack to warn them.

Attached File(s)

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Allan's Photo Allan 25 Mar 2004

We have a steep ridge about 50 feet above (and over the other side) from the top of the Paradise chair - more than once I've missed the fire in the hole warning, and only heard the big blast... scares the crap out of me every time!! We do all control work before public are allowed on the mountains - occasionaly, like liftmech said, the operators will be doing setup but that's it. All our bombs are hand thrown.
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edmontonguy's Photo edmontonguy 25 Mar 2004

At Marmot i have heard blasting well into the afternoon especially during storms. its kind of scary skiing cause all you hear is BANG and it echoing off the Basin
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KZ's Photo KZ 25 Mar 2004

Some of my brothers friends built a giant potato gun. I have yet to try it, but when i do i will try to get pictures

At squaw, control work will go as long as it needs to. They will usually do the front sections (KT-22, Headwall and Siberia) first, then they will move over to granite chief, and silverado will usually open a day or 2 later.

As far as the system on carson pass, it is very interesting. THat road is sure built on a steep slope. They have signs that say "no stopping, yelling or getting out of your car" Well you guessed it, 2 years ago, a slide occured up the road on the way to the lake, so traffic was really backed up becasue everyone going to heavenly was going to kirkwood. Well we were probably stopped in the "Avalance Area" for a good 45 minutes to an hour, all this after a nice big snowstorm. People were out of their cars yelling and playing with snowballs throwing them at the hill and eachother. Quite an interesting experience, including the most crowded day ive ever experieced on the slopes (crazy wind, 45 minute lift lines and people).
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iceberg210's Photo iceberg210 25 Mar 2004

Here in Utah at least in the Cottonwood Canyons guns are used more often than hnd charges it seems. This is because the pplaces you would need to get to are in avalanche danger themselves.
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floridaskier's Photo floridaskier 27 Mar 2004

Are there any avalanches in the area, or do they have it pretty well under control? Because if there was one, and it blocked the road, there's no way to get in or out of there
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CAski's Photo CAski 27 Mar 2004

Skiing on the backside of Northstar during a powder day, while it was still snowing, I kept hearing this roaring like thunder, but I couldn't make out what it was exactly or where it was coming from. Hearing it many times through the day, my friend and I came to the conclusion that it was simply thunder (although we both agreed that thunder should not occur in the conditions at hand). The next day, we were told that it was avalanche control at Squaw and Alpine Meadows. Appearently those things are incredibly loud. :blink:
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floridaskier's Photo floridaskier 28 Mar 2004

Sometimes in the morning at DV you can hear avalanche guns go off. However, it might be in Little Cottonwood Canyon, because they sound really far off
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KZ's Photo KZ 28 Mar 2004

At squaw last spring on a fluke powder day, while riding up granite chief, they were still blasting the other side you hike to, so one went off right as i was unloading the chair. It was a smaller one, but it is still quite suprising when you arent expecting it.
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