A avalanche that was triggered in the Gunnison region | Photo: CAIC
Image (+Cover): Colorado Avalanche Information Center

New snow in the forecast is causing avalanche experts to issue a “special” warning to backcountry travelers this weekend in the Aspen & Gunnison zones.

Related: The Best Avalanche Safety Video Ever! #KBYG

Due to a persistent weak layer that is beginning to rear its ugly head, those traveling in avalanche terrain should exercise extreme caution as human triggered avalanches are highly until this new snow has a chance to settle and bond.

“Continued snowfall on our weak snowpack means a steady rise in avalanche danger today and into Saturday. The upper Crystal River valley is most dangerous as this area is picking up the most new snow. You are most likely to trigger an avalanche on high-elevation slopes that face northwest to northeast through southeast ,where buried weak layers are most widespread. Wind-loaded slopes harbor the thickest slabs and the greatest danger. Fresh snow may cover obvious signs of recent drifting, so give yourself a wide buffer travelling around terrain features that typically see wind-loading, like below ridges and in cross-loaded gullies.

A avalanche that was triggered in the Gunnison region | Photo: CAIC

In wind-sheltered terrain, recently formed weak layers now hide in the upper snowpack below the recent storm snow. As a result, you can trigger avalanches on any slope with more than about 8 to 10 inches of recent accumulation. Shooting cracks or sounds of collapsing are sure signs of a problematic snowpack.

You can reduce your risk by traveling on lowered-angled terrain less than about 30 degrees in steepness that are not below or connected to steeper terrain.”CAIC Aspen

Avalanche Warning [Gunnison & Aspen]

A Special Avalanche Advisory for the Gunnison and Aspen Zones will be in effect through 5 PM Saturday.

Avalanche danger is increasing with an incoming winter storm. Portions of the Aspen and Gunnison zones could see very dangerous avalanche conditions develop as we head into the weekend if we meet or exceed the high end of forecast snowfall.

You can easily trigger large avalanches big enough to bury or kill you, and avalanches may release naturally from accumulating and drifting snow. Watch for rapidly changing conditions beginning Friday afternoon. Avoid traveling on or under slopes steeper than about 30 degrees with more than 8 inches of new snow.

Find up-to-date avalanche forecasts here: Colorado Avalanche Information Center

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