Skier Caught in 600-Foot Long Avalanche in Crested Butte, CO Over Weekend

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This is the 9th person that we know of that has been caught in an avalanche in North America this fall (see bottom of post).  Lets be very careful out there humans.

A skier triggered an avalanche in the Paradise Divide area near Crested Butte, Colorado over the weekend.  The skier rode the 18” deep, 300-foot wide avalanche for 600 feet and miraculously stayed on top.  He was uninjured in the avalanche.

Paradise Divide near Crested Butte, CO.  photo: coloradocrosscountry.com
Paradise Divide near Crested Butte, CO. photo: coloradocrosscountry.com

Skier triggered windslab avalanche on a 35 degrees or less slope. North aspect at 12200 feet. The 2nd skier triggered the slide which broke 5 to 10 feet uphill from skier. 18 in crown running 50 feet wide – whole width of chute and to the ground. The slide ran 600 feet carrying the skier 300 feet and he luckily stayed on top of it.  – Crested Butte Avalanche Center

The Paradise Divide area is very popular among backcountry skiers.

Early season snowfall in our continental snowpack can be a bad thing for snowpack stability.  Low snowpack combined with cold night temperatures is the perfect recipe for facet growing in the snowpack.  Facets are low density snow grains that create a weak layer in the snowpack.

Paradise Divide, CO by moonlight.  photo:  fineartamerica.com
Paradise Divide, CO by moonlight. photo: fineartamerica.com

“It [snowpack stability] can vary from day to day. You can have really stable conditions one day and have a wind event that night, that maybe you slept through, and then have conditions changes quite a bit in to the next day.” – Crested Butte Search and Rescue President Nicholas Kempin

There was another skier triggered avalanche in the Crested Butte area one week ago.

Lets all be careful out there and make sure to get additional avalanche education this winter.

Crested Butte, CO
Crested Butte, CO

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