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February 20, 2014
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Avalanche forecaster to share insights

The Aspen-area forecaster for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center will give a presentation in Aspen today on the precarious conditions that have turned deadly in the backcountry this winter.

Blase Reardon will speak at Powder to the People’s midwinter backcountry awareness discussion at 6 p.m. at the Limelight Hotel.

The center’s website said the central mountains are experiencing a persistent slab problem created by incredible amounts of snow in early February. There have been numerous destructive, natural avalanches over the past 10 days.

“These are breaking on weak layers formed early this season, and the fresh snow and drifts are adding yet more load to these layers on slopes that haven’t slid,” the center’s forecast said.

Two backcountry travelers were killed last week when they were caught in a slide on the east side of Independence Pass.

The center ended its forecast for the Aspen zone on Thursday by saying, “Approach these unusual conditions with an unusually wide margin for error.”

Reardon will elaborate on the unusual conditions at the Powder to the People meeting. The meeting also will feature a presentation by Phil Powers, executive director of the American Alpine Club. He will share highlights of his notable climbs, including the first ascent of Likpilla Brakk’s West Edge in Pakistan.

“Powers will speak about the ways in which a few simple but important lessons from his most challenging climbs have served him in work and life,” said a statement from Powder to the People, an Aspen-based backcountry-access and safety advocacy group.

Events are free and open to the public, but donations to offset costs will be accepted at the door. For more information, contact Mike Sladdin at 970-ERA-2SKI or info@powdertothepeople.org.


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The Aspen Times Updated Feb 20, 2014 10:24PM Published Feb 24, 2014 04:57PM Copyright 2014 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.