Avalanche Hysteria

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Northern Vermont packs a lot of powder¿Jay got 488 inches last year¿and backcountry avalanches can occur. But we've never heard of a slide taking place inbounds at a Vermont ski resort. So when a Burlington news crew showed up at Smugglers' Notch ski area on Presidents' Weekend, warning that an avalanche alert was in effect, skiers¿and management¿were befuddled. "It's your lift to the top of the world that could come sliding down on you," intoned an on-site reporter before interviewing lift riders. One problem. The news team was in the wrong place. The alert was really in effect for the other Smugglers' Notch, a steep-sided pass frequented by backcountry skiers, located about a mile from the ski area. Turns out an Army National Guard squad had been there on maneuvers during one of the pass's routine slides and sent out the warning. The news crew responded a bit too zealously, it seems. The ski area, which fielded a mini slide of questions from alarmed guests, was not amused.