High avalanche danger in Colorado mountains
Early season snow and winds lead to warnings during holiday week
November 24, 2010
Boulder — Heavy early season snow and winds have created high avalanche danger across much of Colorado's high country, and forecasters warn that weather conditions this holiday week could bring more deadly slides.
On Monday, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center updated its forecast, describing avalanche danger as high or considerable.
A high rating means natural and human triggered avalanches are likely.
The heightened warnings come as the first avalanche fatality of the season was reported on Wolf Creek Pass. The ski area's ski patrol director was killed in an early morning slide Monday.
Weather conditions created a high avalanche danger in many parts of Colorado's north, central and southern mountains Monday, and additional wind and snow could create a high avalanche danger again as soon as today, forecasters said.
"A large winter storm on Sunday created high avalanche danger in many mountain areas. A second storm will increase the avalanche danger," said Ethan Greene, director of CAIC.
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The center began issuing daily avalanche forecasts for the 2010-11 season last week. The CAIC issues daily forecasts of mountain weather and avalanche conditions to help backcountry travelers stay safe. The center also provides avalanche safety education for all levels of users.
Avalanche safety experts advise backcountry travelers to always travel in teams of two or more and carry rescue equipment such as a shovel, probe pole, rescue beacon and Recco device.
Since 1950 avalanches have killed more people in Colorado than in any other state. Colorado accounts for one-third of all avalanche deaths in the United States.