Colorado, the state with the most recorded avalanche deaths of any state, is having a particularly bad season when it comes to avalanche activity. The Rockies are home to a Continental snowpack that has been more unstable this season than it has in the past.
The Rocky Mountain State has seen over 1,000 reported avalanches so far this season. That is a 400% increase in avalanche activity over last year, and we’re only halfway through the season. As of January 31st, 2019, a total of 56 people have been caught in 42 avalanches.
That is a historic number of people caught in slides for Colorado but luckily only two people have been killed as the result of avalanches in The Rocky Mountain State.
Colorado’s avalanche issues this season stems from a problematic hoarfrost weak layer that developed early on.
“The scenario we have this year is a lot of early snow in October and November that didn’t melt. It forms a weak structure, and it’s not that big of a problem until more snow piles on top of it. In mid-late December, we started getting heavy and consistent snowfall that started to build a thick, hard layer on the weak base. It’s the perfect set up for avalanches.” Ethan Green, director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center speaking with PostIndependent
Please stay safe out there and be sure to check into Colorado Avalanche Information Center for the latest avalanche forecasts.