Mountain Skills: Cutting a Cornice

You spent the morning lapping soft, shin-deep powder on a semi-treed slope at the end of a long drainage. But your planned exit today takes you above the morning’s skintrack, along the ridgeline and down an exposed slope into the next valley. And since lunch, a light wind has been transporting snow toward the afternoon’s run. So when you crest the bowl, the intended shot is capped by a cornice and rippled like sand at low tide. Do you drop in or retreat? Here’s a tool to help inform your decision.

For more on managing slope instability and risk from above, pick up the October issue of Backcountry Magazine, which includes detailed graphics and instruction on this skill.

BackSide Elevated Education Episode 17 – Cutting a Cornice from K2 Skis on Vimeo.


  1. Why would’nt you equalize the small trees?

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