Increased risk for avalanches during busy mountain travel weekend

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DENVER — The risk level for avalanches in Colorado is increasing as people prepared to return from a holiday weekend in the mountains.

According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, the risk level is listed at considerable in the northern region, moderate in the central portion and low in the San Juans. Those could all increase as more snow comes through the state.

“The more snow the more wind we get the faster the avalanche danger is going to up,” Mike Cooperstein of the CAIC said.

The CAIC says the biggest concern is the potential for large avalanches with little warning.

“The avalanches in northern mountains right now are very unpredictable, they are very dangerous,” Cooperstein said.  “The weak layers that are failing are getting buried pretty deeply in the snowpack, because we’re late in the season… In the northern mountains there isn’t a great way to tell that there’s danger. The snow is breaking in surprising ways and catching people off guard.”

The CAIC is urging backcountry skiers to stay away from avalanche terrain and slopes steeper than 30 degrees.

An updated map that shows the risk levels across the state can be found here.

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