The average in-bounds skier or snowboarder has a key expectation when they spend a day at their favorite ski resort, whether it’s a conscious thought or not. He or she expects avalanche risk to be close to nil.
The thing is, it takes a lot of work from highly-trained, vigilant ski patrollers to even make it possible for resort-goers to put avalanche dangers completely out of mind. That, and explosives.
At Mammoth Mountain, a cannon originally intended for the battlefield has become one of the key tools in avalanche risk mitigation. In other words, a device originally intended to kill enemy soldiers is now helping to save lives.
The video above comes to us from Great Big Story and profiles Mammoth Mountain Ski Patrol manager Matt Seibert and how his team operates the big gun to trigger small avalanches across the resort to keep Mammoth’s patrons safe.