CAIC Warns of High Avalanche Danger in Colorado Backcountry This Holiday Weekend

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avalanche, colorado, Loveland Pass, skier triggered carried
A skier triggered and was caught and carried in this avalanche on Loveland Pass in an area locally known as the Kitchen Wall on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021. The other two avalanches ran sympathetically. Image: Summit County Sheriff’s Office

Yesterday, Dr. Ethan Greene, director for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC), warned of high avalanche danger in the Colorado backcountry over the holiday weekend.

“New snow and the holiday weekend will provide a much-needed outlet for all sorts of powderhounds, but we also expect HIGH (Level 4 of 5) avalanche danger on Friday.”

– Ethan Greene, director for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC)

Following a warm fall, the state’s snowpack is currently ‘quite weak,’ according to the CAIC. The most recent avalanches in the state, over 300 reported in December alone, have been classified as “soft slab” avalanches, meaning they are comprised of relatively new snow compared to “hard slab” avalanches.

Over the past two weeks, backcountry travelers have triggered avalanches “from low-angle slopes below, next to, and above steeper slopes,” says the CAIC.

CAIC recommends that backcountry travelers carry equipment such as an avalanche-rescue transceiver, a probe pole, and a shovel. CAIC also advises staying on slopes “less than 30 degrees steep and not connected to steeper terrain”, and always check the avalanche forecast and weather before heading out.

“We recommend people avoid traveling on or under steep snow-covered slopes during periods of high avalanche danger. We want to make sure people get out, have some fun, but get home safe to spend time with their families.”

– Ethan Greene

avalanche, forecast, CAIC
Current Colorado avalanche forecast (12/23/21). Credit: CAIC

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