1st avalanche death of the season prompts warnings for backcountry

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DENVER (KDVR) — A skier was caught, fully buried and died while backcountry skiing near Cameron Pass on Friday.

The person’s death prompted officials to remind people to take avalanche warnings very seriously.

“It’s the first one of our season this year,” Ethan Greene, director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center said.

“It’s terrible when we have to use an accident like this to remind people about the danger,” Greene said.

That danger is enough for Greene to remind people these are killers in the mountains and warnings need to be taken seriously.

Greene said the weather will create dangerous conditions for avalanches over the next few days.

“We expect snowfall starting late tonight, continuing into Monday,” Greene said.

Until Monday, Greene said, the risk is very high in the backcountry.

“Avalanche danger on Sunday is going to be quite dangerous again,” Greene said.

This post is on the CAIC Facebook page:

An Avalanche Watch is in effect for the Steamboat and Flat Tops, Front Range, Vail and Summit County, Sawatch, and North San Juan Mountains zone. A windy storm on Sunday will result in large natural avalanches running long distances. Expect very dangerous avalanches conditions to develop overnight Saturday and into Sunday. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended on Sunday.

There are places hikers, skiers and snowboarders should not be when the risk is as high as it is this weekend.

“You really need to avoid traveling on steep slopes but also not going underneath any steep slopes,” Greene said.

If you’re compelled to be outdoors, Greene recommended going somewhere that doesn’t present a danger, like a ski area.

“You have teams there that are taking care of the avalanche danger. Although they can’t remove the risk completely, they are reducing the risk dramatically,” Greene said.

For the most up-to-date avalanche forecast in the backcountry, check out this website.

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