Avalanches more dangerous and frequent this season

Local News

LOVELAND PASS, Colo. (KDVR) — The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) says avalanches this year are more powerful and cover a much wider path.  

Ten people have been killed in avalanches this year. Two of them died this past weekend.  

A picture taken by the Alpine Rescue Team shows how widespread the avalanche was north of Loveland Pass Sunday.  

Avalanche area where snowboarder was killed near Loveland Ski Area, photo from CAIC

Soon after the avalanche was reported, Alpine Rescue Team began a search. It’s where crews found a backcountry snowboarder who was buried and died.

Avalanches this year, they say, are more dangerous.  

“They’re extremely large. This (one on Sunday) was several hundred feet across. Up to 800 feet across. Which is a huge slice for us to find a needle in the haystack,” Alpine Rescue Team Public Information Officer Steve Wilson said. 

Part of an avalanche airbag protruding from the snow is what helped the team make the find. 

Over in the backcountry of East Vail, another snowboarder survived an avalanche.   

An Avalung, a device that helps a skier breathe under snow, and a transceiver/beacon helped a companion find him.  

The CAIC recommends backcountry users check the avalanche forecast for danger zones.  

Even with warnings, there is no agency set up to prevent people from going into those spots.  

“I think there are some groups out there that would do that. But I don’t think we have reached one of those times even though we are seeing a lot of people getting injured or killed in avalanches this year,” said Ethan Greene, CAIC Director.  

The center stresses there are many safe places in the backcountry to enjoy.  

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