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News in Brief

An avalanche slid across the bottom of the Ute Trail, a popular switchback route up the side of Aspen Mountain, but apparently no one was hurt.A member of Mountain Rescue Aspen noticed the slide debris Wednesday – the same day the ski patrol was periodically blasting Aspen Mountain to knock down wet snow.”You know, this is the kind of stuff that gets people,” said Mountain Rescue member Debbie Kelly. “People aren’t expecting an avalanche on the Ute Trail.”Warm weather causes “wet” avalanches, resulting when the water in melting snow percolates through the snowpack, causing it to fail and give way. Slides on the Ute Trail are not unheard-of, Kelly noted. The trail climbs steeply up the mountain, east of the ski area.A small, wet slide also hit Castle Creek Road south of Aspen on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center website. The slide ran 150 vertical feet on a steep west aspect and covered one lane of the road, said the CAIC report.”In places, the snowpack at lower elevations has become entirely saturated with water to the point where it will not support a person’s weight. At lower elevations rain will weaken the snowpack by adding weight and breaking bonds between snow grains. Stay off any slopes steeper than 30 degrees that are getting rain,” advised the CAIC on Thursday.

A lynx spotted in Aspen last month died from starvation, according to the Colorado Division of Wildlife.The cat had suffered a broken leg, apparently caused by “blunt trauma,” according to the results of a necropsy. Wildlife officials have no way of knowing how the lynx came to break its leg, but the injury impaired its ability to hunt, said DOW spokesman Randy Hampton.The lynx was originally released in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado as part of the DOW’s reintroduction effort and apparently migrated to Aspen. The agency recovered the body of the cat from private property last month, shortly after people began seeing it near a bike trail west of town.

Law enforcement officials are looking for information about two snowboarders who were either walking or hitchhiking down Castle Creek Road from the Conundrum Creek area about 5:30 p.m. or later Monday.According to Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy John Armstrong, authorities believe the pair snowboarded from Aspen Highlands to Conundrum Creek, where they tried to break into a home.The apparent burglary was foiled, however, when alarms sounded and the men went running, Armstrong said.Anyone with information can call the sheriff’s office at 920-5300.


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