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Ready, aim, fire! It's avalanche-control season.

Boom! Its blast barely muffled by falling snow, a 105mm recoilless rifle lobs a 40-pound shell onto ski slopes above Snowbird, Utah. The result: a manmade version of a terrifying natural force--the avalanche. Avalanches, snow masses sliding at speeds up to 200 miles an hour, pose major threats to the West's ski resorts, roads, and mountain towns. Heading them off with munitions is a technique pioneered after World War II by veterans of the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division. Today, the Forest Service and other agencies monitor snowfall and, when danger signals appear, swing into explosive action. "The hardware hasn't changed much in the last 40 years," says Doug Abromeit of Wasatch National Forest, in Utah. "But we've gotten a lot better at finding avalanches' sweet spots." Ready, aim, fire--and the ski runs are made safe for another day.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:using antitank weapons to induce avalanches
Publication:Sunset
Date:Jan 1, 1993
Words:140
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