4 Coloradans Died in Avalanches the Last 3 Weekends and the Danger Will Continue through the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Weekend

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The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reports a string of fatal accidents and continuing dangerous avalanche conditions this upcoming holiday weekend, urging people to heed danger warnings and stop this tragic trend.

Four people have died in avalanches since December 26 and there is more snow forecast for Colorado this week. “Dangerous avalanche conditions will last through the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend” said Ethan Greene, Director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Early-season snowfall followed by heavy snow in early December and early January created dangerous avalanche conditions. “We’ve seen more avalanches this year than we do on a typical year, and recently they’ve gotten much bigger.” said Greene. “We want everyone to enjoy the wonderful public lands in Colorado, and go home alive and well to their family and friends on Monday” said Greene. “We need everyone headed into the backcountry to plan their trip carefully and make sure they avoid avalanche hazards.” Greene said. “We need to stop this deadly trend”.

Why is this important?

The CAIC recorded over 870 avalanches since December 26. There’s been a fatal avalanche accident each of the last three weekends, killing four people. Avalanches are getting larger. People may not see the usual danger signs, but still be in a dangerous area. The avalanche danger is not going down so expect these dangerous conditions throughout the holiday weekend.

What can backcountry users do?

The most important thing you can do is check the avalanche forecast before going into the backcountry. This includes easy-to-access backcountry like right off the highway or leaving any ski area through a backcountry access points. Go to www.colorado.gov/avalanche or get the Friends of CAIC’s mobile app. Look at the current avalanche conditions and plan backcountry travel accordingly. Make sure you and every member of your group carry an avalanche-rescue transceiver, a probe pole, and a shovel – and know how to use this equipment.

Learn avalanche safety basics

A little bit of knowledge can save your life. You can start at the CAIC’s education resources page.

avalanche, snowmobilers, colorado
Looking at the east face of Mount Epworth. This is a large avalanche that broken near the ground. The debris from the slide ran onto Pumphouse Lake. Credit: CAIC

 

 


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