Will this avalanche season be as active as the last? Experts weigh in

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DENVER — The recent snowstorms that have moved through Colorado could have an impact on the number of avalanches the state will see this season.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) says it is beginning to receive more reports of avalanches.

As the official start of winter nears, avalanches are predicted to get bigger and more dangerous.

An estimated 4,000 avalanches in Colorado during the 2018-2019 avalanche season.

For more than a month now, thin layers of snow have been slowly laying the groundwork this years avalanche season.

Casey Day, a professional ski photographer who lives in Silver Plume, goes to extremes to make sure he’s safe.

“Last season we had an avalanche and I just happened to have all my avalanche gear with me that day,” said Day.

He quickly dropped his camera and grabbed his life-saving gear.

“We went into full search mode along with the search and rescue and the ski patrol,” Day said. “Every beacon and shovel and probe got used that day.”

There have already been several avalanches reported this year.

“We are staring to see some cracking and collapsing in smaller avalanches as that snow piles up. Those avalanches are going to get bigger and bigger,” said Spencer Logan with CAIC.

Forecasters at the CAIC say accurately predicting how many avalanches Colorado will experience this season is difficult.

“We can’t really use what’s happening now to look further and further into the future,” Logan said.

That’s one reason Day checks avalanche forecasts often.

Avalanche scientists say it is hard to predict whether this avalanche season will be as active as the last, especially given Colorado’s unpredictable weather.

Check CAIC’s latest avalanche forecasts on its website.

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