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Danger of warmth

Aspen Times Staff

A small patch of snow slid above Goat Road on Aspen Mountain about noon Tuesday and crossed into an area that was open to the public at the time. Several skiers and riders witnessed the slide.”It was a little more than a slough,” Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle said. “It wouldn’t have buried anybody if they had been caught in it, it just would have pushed them down the hill a bit.”As a precaution, patrollers closed Goat Road and Magnifico Road shortly after the slide. Corkscrew, Super 8 and 1A Lift Line were also closed for the rest of the day.Recent high temperatures caused the slide, Hanle said. There were also closures Tuesday at Snowmass on some of the steeper terrain exposed to the sun.Lower temperatures Tuesday night and early this morning should stabilize the snowpack, and the terrain should reopen soon, Hanle said.”It’s not an unusual occurrence for those types of temperatures, but I guess it’s unusual at this time of year,” Hanle said. “We’ve had similar stuff happen in the past, but it’s usually been in late March or April. It stayed right above 32 degrees Monday night, but [Tuesday night] it’s supposed to drop back into the 20s.”Wet avalanches were releasing around the mountains Tuesday. Loveland Pass on Highway 6 was closed for about an hour Tuesday morning after a 30-foot-wide, 3-foot-deep avalanche covered the roadway at 11:30 a.m.No one was caught in the slide, and no vehicles were trapped.A second avalanche tumbled onto Highway 91 south of Copper Mountain Resort, reducing traffic to one lane, said Colorado Department of Transportation spokesperson Bob Wilson.There was also some slide activity around Battle Mountain near Minturn and on Berthoud Pass in Grand County. Highway 50 over Monarch Pass was also closed briefly Tuesday because of an avalanche, said Colorado Avalanche Information Center forecaster Scott Toepfer. No one was injured in the slides, Toepfer said.- The Summit Daily News contributed to this report.Avalanche reportThe backcountry avalanche danger in the Roaring Fork Valley is moderate above and below treeline.Keep an eye out for wet snow avalanche activity on easterly aspects. The last 10 days have seen continued reports of human-triggered avalanches on steep E and NE aspects.Avalanche details provided by the Roaring Fork Avalanche Center. For more information, visit rfavalanche.org. For conditions around the state, call the Colorado Avalanche Information Center at 920-1664 or visit geosurvey.state.co.us/avalanche.