Be wary in backcountry: slide danger moderate around Aspen |

Be wary in backcountry: slide danger moderate around Aspen

Jeremy Heiman

Avalanche danger remains moderate in the Aspen vicinity, despite the weekend’s generous snowfall.

But according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, some slides are releasing in the new snow layer in the northern and central mountains of Colorado. The hazard is increased on slopes where wind can deposit greater amounts of snow.

More than 100 avalanches were reported in Colorado from Thursday through Sunday, but no injuries were reported.

The weekend storm focused on the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado, where 55 avalanches were reported Sunday, while only four were reported in the central mountains. All four of those were sighted in the backcountry near Ashcroft, said CAIC director Knox Williams. But that’s only because people were there to observe them.

“If we had observers everywhere, I’m sure the number would be three or four times that,” Williams said. No additional avalanches were observed Monday in the central mountains.

Statewide, Wolf Creek Pass reported the most snow, with 53 inches in three days, Williams said. Coal Bank Pass, between Durango and Silverton, got 38 inches during the same period. McClure Pass, not known to be a particularly snowy area, had 14 inches of new snow Monday morning.

There’s a chance the avalanche danger rating may be upgraded if weather forecasts prove out, Williams said. A small weather system is expected to drop a few inches this afternoon, and another storm is expected Wednesday.

The new snow will be brought by a northwesterly flow, Williams said, bringing the heaviest snow to Steamboat Springs. But Aspen can expect a few inches out of each storm, he said.

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