VAIL, COLORADO – The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) is raising alarms as nearly 500 avalanches have been reported in the state over the past week, with conditions growing increasingly unstable. Amid an ongoing winter storm, the risk for slides is surging.
The CAIC’s latest reports come with a stark warning: avalanches are easier to trigger now than at any point during this active period. Two close calls involving partial burials have been reported in the last two days. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries, but these incidents underscore the fragile state of Colorado’s snowpack.
A particularly troubling event occurred near Williams Peak, close to Glenwood Springs. A rider, making their way down a steep, wind-loaded north-facing slope, was partially buried after the snow gave way beneath them. The slide was about 50-75 feet wide and ran for 200 feet with a crown depth of 2 feet, alarming given there were no signs of fracturing or collapsing beforehand.
The avalanche danger is currently rated as HIGH (4 out of 5) throughout most of Colorado. The CAIC emphasizes that the existing snow layers, weakened by the storm, are likely to cause larger and more frequent avalanches. With additional snow and high winds in the forecast through Monday, the conditions are particularly precarious in the Northern and Central Mountains.
Advice for Outdoor Enthusiasts: In light of the imminent danger, the CAIC strongly discourages travel in or below avalanche terrain. The public is advised to remain vigilant, stay informed by visiting Colorado.gov/avalanche for the latest forecasts, and avoid any activities that may increase the risk of triggering an avalanche.