New York Times goes deep on the Tunnel Creek avalanche at Stevens Pass

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Usually I don’t plug an article or a series of articles in this space. I save that for Twitter. But this one deserves a little extra mention.

On Feb. 18, a group of expert backcountry skiers and snowboarders went to an out-of-bounds area near the Stevens Pass ski area in Washington state, setting out to take advantage of mounds of fresh powder that had fallen there.

The group had 16 people in it. Some time after noon that day, they headed down the back side of Cowboy Mountain, known to locals as Tunnel Creek.

An avalanche broke free during their descent, killing three.

The New York Times interviewed many members of the group who were there as well as loved ones of those who died. This is a multi-part story and it’s pretty long, but worth the read. The website also includes video interviews of the subjects, audio files of emergency calls made to first responders and multimedia presentations illustrating the avalanche and how it swept three top-notch skiers to their deaths. It’s also available in an e-book called “Snow Fall.”

Take some time to read it — it’s worth it. With apologies to Outside magazine, this is some of the best outdoors reporting and writing you will see. It’s also an excellent lesson to anyone who wants to take part in wintertime backcountry adventures.

Bob Doucette

On Twitter @RMHigh7088

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