Avalanche danger rated 'considerable'

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Avalanche beacon training

A North Routt Beacon Search Contest is from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday at 61156 Main St. in Hahn's Peak Village. The free event is intended to promote backcountry safety and avalanche awareness. There will be cash and prizes for top finishers. Call Charlie Magnuson at 879-2564 or e-mail charliemagnuson@earthlink.net.

— Recent snowfall and heavy winds have increased the avalanche danger in the Steamboat Springs area, the president of Routt County Search and Rescue warned Tuesday.

Randall Hannaway said the nearly 3 feet of snow that has fallen over the mountains around Steamboat during the past week, combined with strong cross winds, has made backcountry skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling particularly dangerous activities.

"(The avalanche danger) is super high right now, and we want to let people know they need to use extreme caution," Hannaway said.

According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, the avalanche danger in the Steamboat area is higher than anywhere else in the state. A combination of wind slabs and layers of snow that aren't bonding well to one another make for extremely dangerous conditions, according to CAIC's Web site.

The avalanche danger in the Steamboat zone is rated as "considerable," with pockets of "high" danger on north-, northeast-, east-, southeast- and south-facing slopes.

Hannaway advised backcountry users to take all necessary precautions, including packing avalanche beacons, probes and shovels. Recreationists should proceed one at a time across slopes, and Hannaway encouraged people to simply avoid any avalanche-prone areas.

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