DENVER (KDVR) — State avalanche experts are warning hikers about the increased avalanche hazard across Colorado.
“It just puts an exclamation point on how dangerous avalanche conditions are,” Brian Lazar, with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, said.
Two deaths have been reported as a result of avalanches in the high country despite a stern forecast for avalanche warnings.
“[Warnings] mean we expect widespread avalanche activity with avalanches large enough to bury or kill a person,” Lazar said.
Over the last week, Lazar said the recipe had been present for the most dangerous possible scenario for avalanches.
“Many of these avalanches are going to run spontaneously just from weather events like a big snowfall, like what we’ve seen this holiday period,” Lazar said.
The snowy holiday weekend contributed to packing on layers of snow in vulnerable parts of the mountains.
“This year we’ve got weak layers that have been sticking around a long time and we knew this was going to be a problem,” Lazar said. “If and when we got a big loading event or a big snowstorm.”
Mix that with adventurous folks who have plenty of time off, experts said you have a self-fulfilling disaster when those folks aren’t careful.
“That’s discouraging because most avalanches that end up injuring or killing people are triggered by the victims themselves or somebody in their group,” Lazar said.
Click here for the avalanche forecast from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. The simplest and easiest way to prevent being a victim: know the conditions before you go for a hike.
“What we have control over is where we travel in the terrain and when we go there,” Lazar said.