Colorado has already seen 637 avalanches this season—more than the same period in the last twelve years.
One hundred forty-two of those slides were triggered by humans, according to data in the new CAIC avalanche explorer tool.
Almost a third (204) have been in the Gunnison range.
Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) director Ethan Greene warns, “…we have a fairly weak underlying layer of the snowpack. It’s very fragile.”
Skiers and riders preparing to enter the backcountry should always check the avalanche forecast on CAIC’s website, bring extra supplies, and educate themselves.
“If your goal is to travel on snow-covered slopes steeper than 30 degrees, you should take a course where you’re in the field with an instructor looking at the snow and how to travel in avalanche terrain.”
– Ethan Greene
There have been widespread dangerous avalanche conditions across Colorado this week. A good chunk of the forecast zones were under Avalanche Watches or Warnings.
So far this season, there haven’t been any avalanche fatalities in Colorado or North America. Last season there were 23 avalanche fatalities, of which seven were in Colorado.