ExploreSteamboat.com Editor Nicole Inglis skis Thursday near Pony Express at Steamboat Ski Area. The avalanche danger in the Steamboat backcountry was rated as high Thursday and an avalanche warning is in effect through 8 a.m. Friday.

Ben Ratliff/courtesy

ExploreSteamboat.com Editor Nicole Inglis skis Thursday near Pony Express at Steamboat Ski Area. The avalanche danger in the Steamboat backcountry was rated as high Thursday and an avalanche warning is in effect through 8 a.m. Friday.

Avalanche warning in effect for mountains near Steamboat Springs

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— The Colorado Avalanche Information Center issued an avalanche warning early Thursday for the Steamboat zone, where the avalanche danger is rated as high, meaning natural avalanches are likely and human-triggered slides are very likely.

The warning was issued by avalanche forecaster John Snook after wind speeds Wednesday night increased the likelihood that the heavy snowfall was being condensed into wind slabs on aspects facing north, east and south.

“Dangerous avalanche conditions now exist with spontaneous and triggered avalanches likely especially on aspects facing toward the east side of the compass,” Snook wrote in his bulletin. “Travel in or below avalanche terrain is not recommended.”

The avalanche warning is valid through 8 a.m. Friday.

Steamboat Ski Area was reporting 14 inches of new snow in 24 hours as of Thursday morning, bringing the three-day total to 41 inches.

The National Weather Service in Grand Junction was forecasting an 80 percent chance of snow during the day Thursday, and thick flakes were falling as of 11 a.m. The chance of snow continues at 50 percent Friday before tapering off Friday night followed by sunshine and a forecast high temperature of 33 degrees Saturday.

Avalanche danger scale

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Jan. 31 powder day at Steamboat

Ben Ratliff snowboarding near Pony Express.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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