Avalanche alerts, advice and added awareness

By Rachael Brown

avalanche1An avalanche in the making at the crown line low on the slope below Chute. (MOUNT WASHINGTON AVALANCHE CENTER PHOTO)It may come as no surprise to learn that Mount Washington, the "Home of the World's Worst Weather," is avalanche-prone.

What may come as a surprise is the number of avalanches.

According to Justin Preisendorfer of the Mount Washington Avalanche Center, "For the first time this season, a week and a half ago, we used the extreme rating (black) for avalanche danger.

"You could actually pick out evidence that in the 14 or 16 forecast areas, all but one avalanched. We probably had a minimum of 12 avalanches, some multiple, maybe even as high as 20 or 24 in a 24-hour period,"

In the avalanche center's forecast areas — Tuckerman and Huntington ravines — there could be as many as 100 recorded avalanches in any given year, said Preisendorfer, Androscoggin assistant district ranger.

"While it is typical for about 100 avalanches, there could be as many as 1,000 (though) maybe that's stretching a little. It is difficult to tell unless you are at the right place at the wrong time.

"The majority of avalanches take place during storms," explained Preisendorfer, adding that fortunately the storms keep people away.

At 65, the avalanche center is the oldest forecasting program in the country. It is also one of only 19 in the U.S. and the only center east of the Rockies.

The Androscoggin Ranger District of the White Mountain National Forest operates the center.

Preisendorfer, one of the three snow rangers and lead forecast supervisor, was on hand to talk about the center, what's new this year, how they forecast, how they get warnings out to the public and how to keep out of danger in avalanche terrain.

The Snow Report — Spring-like conditions in February — how sweet it is

By Lloyd Jones

2-24-17-Jackson-Ski-Touring-5A skier crosses the covered bridge at Jackson Touring Center Friday. (JAMIE GEMMITI PHOTO)"Awesome" is the word visitors have been using to describe conditions at local skiing centers. Conditions have been perfect, with temperatures in the 40s pretty much all week, along with a ton of snow for everyone to enjoy, whether their passion is alpine skiing and snowboarding, cross-country skiing, tubing or getting out in the backcountry.

We hit 64 degrees in North Conway on Thursday, but the snow is holding strong.

"Looking for excellent cross-country skiing conditions? We have them. Our picnic tables are out, bring your sunglasses and sunscreen," was the message Thursday on the Trail Report at Bear Notch Ski Touring Center, just west of Bartlett Village. "We are grooming with both the renovator and tiller. The result is groomed trails with a very nice sugar granular surface in the a.m. and go to a wet snow surface later in the day."

This Sunday, the 28th annual Chocolate Festival takes center stage at the Mount Washington Valley Ski Touring Center's network.

"People come from great distances to cross-country ski, snowshoe or drive from inn-to-inn along the trails of our 45K network to enjoy the spectacular scenery, warm hospitality and great chocolate treats at stops throughout the network, most located along the trails," the touring center's website states.

The event runs from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Chocolate-dipped strawberries, chocolate fountains and fondue, brownie sundaes and chocolate cookies of all kinds are just some of the treats being offered at the trailside stops.

Proposed number of permits for N.H. Moose Hunt cut to 51

By Lloyd Jones

moose-headThe New Hampshire moose herd has declined in recent years due to a variety of factors. (FILE PHOTO)CONCORD — The New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game has proposed cutting the number of statewide moose hunt permits by almost 30 percent.

The initial proposal to cut total issued permits to 51 from last year's 71 was approved by the Fish and Game Commission at its February meeting.

This begins the state's rule-making process, which will include development of a rule-making notice, scheduling of public hearings, and the opportunity to submit written comments.

Hearing dates will be announced as soon as they become available.

Two years ago, the number of permits was reduced by approximately 32 percent, from 105 to 71.