On the Hill: It’s slide season | AspenTimes.com

On the Hill: It’s slide season

With this week’s snows came the start of operation for state and local avalanche forecast operations.Both the Roaring Fork Avalanche Center and the Colorado Avalanche Information Center posted a “high” slide danger for terrain at and above treeline.The CAIC rated the avalanche danger as “considerable” to high across the central mountains of Colorado, a region that includes Aspen, with fresh snow and high winds combining to form slabs atop crusts and unstable layers.”Avalanches will be likely on north through east to south aspects,” the CAIC warned Monday in its first daily bulletin.Below treeline, the danger is rated as considerable, which means human-triggered avalanches are probable: “Backcountry travelers will probably encounter slabs on steep terrain. The slabs may be windloaded and easier to recognize, or they may be surprisingly soft and lure a rider onto a slope,” the CAIC said.The Roaring Fork Avalanche Center posted its first bulletin of the season Tuesday, rating avalanche danger in the mountains surrounding the Roaring Fork Valley as high at and above treeline, and moderate below treeline with pockets of considerable risk.Tuesday’s report said: “An avalanche danger rating of high for today means that both natural and human triggered avalanches are likely near and above treeline. Travel in or around avalanche terrain is not recommended at this time. Travel will be safest on low angle terrain with no steeper slopes above. Below treeline, little to no snow accumulation before this storm will make for a lower danger rating. Caution is still advised for steeper open terrain and areas where older snow exists below today’s storm snow.”For local avalanche reports, go to http://www.rfavalanche.org. The CAIC report is at http://www.geosurvey.state.co.us/avalanche/.The Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.