FRISCO — The Colorado Avalanche Information Center staff on Thursday morning shared its excitement that the state did not receive any reports over the previous seven days of people caught in avalanches. That said, the state agency urged caution ahead of the holiday weekend, a stretch that historically has been an accident-prone period.
“It is not because our snowpack is stable. We have seen many large natural and explosive-triggered avalanches over this time period. Just (Wednesday) a skier remotely triggered a large avalanche in the Sawatch zone that broke at the ground from over 1,000 feet away,” according to a post on the Avalanche Information Center’s Instagram account.
The forecasting center added in the post that a possible explanation for the lack of reported backcountry recreationists caught in avalanches is that good decisions are being made.
“Maybe we are giving this potentially dangerous snowpack a healthy dose of respect?” the post continued. “A large loading event in the last week and numerous natural avalanches is all the evidence we need to know we should scale back our slope angles and evaluate snow and terrain carefully.”
Looking ahead to the weekend and with more snow in the forecast, Avalanche Information Center staff asked the public to spread the word that the state’s snowpack is far from safe — particularly in the northern and central mountains, which includes Summit County — as several large natural-, skier-, snowmobile- and remotely-triggered slides have been reported in the past week.
“Multiple tracks on a slope do not mean anything as far as stability,” the post said. “With our current snowpack situation, numerous tracks can be present on a steep slope before the fourth or even 10th rider triggers a large and deadly avalanche.”
In the Summit County and Vail zone, the center has received 36 avalanche observations from the public since Feb. 5. The observations include reports from Vail Pass, the Tenmile Range, the Gore Range and Loveland Pass.