Snow is stacking up around the state with considerable avalanche risk present in several regions. With more than 30 inches of snow hitting parts of the state in less than 24 hours and more in surrounding days, be hyperaware of conditions prior to entering the backcountry – it could save your life.
UPDATE: Three avalanches occurring at Crested Butte Ski Resort were initially included on the official CAIC incident report – two in the Paradise Cliff area and another at Monument. While the resort was reportedly open when these slides were said to occur, these specific areas were said to be closed to skiers and riders at the times of the slides. The reports of these slides have since been removed from the CAIC incident report. We’re working on determining why this is the case.
Detailed in the reports featured on Colorado Avalanche Information Center, 48 separate avalanche incidents (and 3 allegedly occurring at Crested Butte Ski Resort that have since been removed from the reporting system) were reported between Saturday and Sunday. A large portion of these avalanches took place in the San Juan Mountains in spots like Red Mountain Pass and Wolf Creek Pass. Loveland Pass also saw several slides, as did the Aspen area. No known injuries have been reported.
The largest avalanche by rating that was reported happened on Wolf Creek Pass in the Rusty’s Slide area. It was a soft slab avalanche that was rated as R4/D2. This means that the slide was large relative to the size of its path and also that the slide was capable of burying or killing people if in the way. To help put this rating in perspective, a “D3” destruction force-rated avalanche is capable of destroying destroying a wooden frame house. A “D5” avalanche is the largest ever known, capable to gouging the landscape. “D1” is generally considered harmless to humans.
Avalanches occurring around the state were triggered by a variety of factors including natural slides, artillery fire, skiers, and snowcats.
If you’ll be in avalanche-prone areas, it’s highly recommended that you take an avalanche safety course first.