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Colorado official warns of high avalanche danger over the holiday weekend

Colorado’s top avalanche official is warning of high avalanche danger in the state’s backcountry heading into 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,” said Ethan Greene, director for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC), which is part of the state’s Department of Natural Resources. 

After an unseasonably warm fall, CAIC said the state’s snowpack is “quite weak,” which adds to the threat of avalanches occurring. The agency said backcountry travelers have triggered avalanches “from low-angle slopes below, next to, and above steeper slopes” in some parts of the state over the past two weeks.

CAIC has recently recorded backcountry avalanches near Steamboat and the Flat Tops range as well as the Sawatch range and northern San Juan mountains, according to its website

Most of the avalanche’s recorded by CAIC over the last two weeks have been classified as “soft slab” avalanches, meaning they are comprised of relatively new snow compared to “hard slab” avalanches. 

To help mitigate some of the risks associated with avalanches, 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 that are not connected to steeper terrain.”

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

This article was originally posted on Colorado official warns of high avalanche danger over the holiday weekend

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