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These Ski Patrollers Fight Off Avalanches With World War II Cannons

world war ii cannons
YouTube: Great Big Story

The best skiing destinations often pose some of the most dangerous conditions.

The Sierra Mountains feature some impressively steep slopes, one of which being California's Mammoth Mountain. Because it's a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders, the mountain's proneness to avalanches is a major cause for concern.

Because of the mountain's dramatic landscape, an avalanche can be devastating if the snow piles on top of itself for long enough. For that reason, the Mammoth Mountain Ski Patrol had to find a way to control snow distribution and keep ski resort tourists safe from a potential avalanche.

In order to keep snow from collecting too much at higher altitudes, they starting implementing a somewhat unconventional, retro practice. They fire World War II-era cannons across mountain ranges to break up snow.

"Our intent is to create many small, controlled avalanches, as opposed to letting the snow rest and winding up with one large, devastating avalanche," manager Matt Seibert said.

Watch the video below:

To be more specific, these guys are firing Howitzers, which were originally designed to offer a middle ground between guns and mortars. Who would've ever thought these would be used for avalanche control all these years later?

"We fire our gun 90 percent of the time blind, in a storm, without being able to see our target," Seibert said. "We are capable of dialing in on one little rock and nailing it on the nose."

Despite the often-rough weather conditions, though, he says they're confident in their shots.

"Our whole team feels secure when the gun goes out and fires," Seibert said. "It's able to reach targets that we would not normally be able to reach with just throwing hand charges."

We have to say, it's great to hear these ski patrollers are able to put these vintage artillery weapons to use!

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These Ski Patrollers Fight Off Avalanches With World War II Cannons