A string of avalanches recently tore through parts of Colorado, leaving multiple people trapped under the snow. One person died and multiple were injured.

According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC), more than 350 natural and human-triggered slides have been reported across the state this month. Following multiple days of high country snow, there’s been a flurry of avalanche activity resulting in 22 human-triggered avalanches over a five-day period. During the 6-day period January 18 and January 23, seven people were caught in seven different avalanches, resulting in multiple injuries and a fatality.

Following the string of avalanches, the CAIC is warning backcountry riders to “keep it simple and stick to lower angle slopes. Any attempt to ride a steep slope, especially in the Front Range, without evaluating the snowpack, is simply a roll of the dice.” 

The photo below from the CAIC shows a rider-triggered avalanche that occurred on Friday near Loveland Pass.

An avalanche was triggered by a rider near Loveland Pass. Photo Credit: The Colorado Avalanche Information Center Facebook's Page
An avalanche was triggered by a rider near Loveland Pass. Photo Credit: The Colorado Avalanche Information Center Facebook’s Page

Rider-triggered avalanches from skiers and snowboarders were also reported across the backcountry including areas near the South San Juans, Vail, Kebler Pass, and Dry Gulch.

Avalanche conditions are moderate (2 out of 5) across the state right now. While the danger may seem low, it’s still possible to trigger very large and dangerous avalanches. Minimize your risk by avoiding steep slopes, especially in wind-loaded areas. Use caution, ski with a buddy, and always check the daily avalanche conditions at colorado.gov/avalanche before heading into the backcountry.

There have been two avalanche deaths so far this 2019-2020 season in Colorado. The first of the season involved a 29-year-old backcountry skier who got caught in an avalanche near Cameron Pass and the most recent avalanche death involved an ice climber who lost her life in a slide near Ouray.

Editor’s Note: Here’s an article about why we’ve chosen to cover deaths and injuries that occur in Colorado’s outdoor recreation space.

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