First Skier-Triggered Avalanche In Colorado Reported Near Breckenridge

First Skier-Triggered Avalanche In Colorado Reported Near Breckenridge

Avalanche

First Skier-Triggered Avalanche In Colorado Reported Near Breckenridge

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An avalanche triggered over the weekend near Breckenridge, Colorado, marks the first skier triggered slide of the 2020-2021 winter season. Out There Colorado reports the skier-triggered slide occurred on October 31st on the lower eastern face of Bald Mountain near Breckenridge at approximately 12,300 feet.

Multiple skiers were skinning uphill when a section of snow estimated to be two feet deep and 100 feet across broke off and slid approximately 1,000 feet downhill.  No one was caught in the slide and no injuries were reported according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) website.

CAIC’s report mentions the slide was likely made up of newer wind-affected snow on a patch of older snow from September. The October 31st avalanche was the second slide reported this season, the first being a natural slide on September 10th in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness.

If you’re planning on entering the backcountry this season, only do so if you’re qualified with avalanche education credentials, a thorough understanding of terrain/current conditions and carrying all the necessary safety equipment. For educational resources please go visit Know Before You Go.  Stay safe out there folks.

Details

  • Date: 2020/10/31
  • Observer: Michael Stanley
  • Organization: Public

Location

  • BC Zone: Vail & Summit County
  • Area Description: Lower east face of Bald Mountain near Breckenridge, just off the road.

Weather

  • Weather Description: Bald Mountain East Aspect Approximately 12,300 feet elevation Time: 11AM Temperature: 25 degrees Fahrenheit Winds: Gusting E/SE at 20-25 mph

Snowpack

  • Snowpack Description: Bald Mountain East Aspect Approximately 12,300 feet elevation Minimal snow on the relatively flat plateau where the road travels – wind scoured Beginnings of a cornice stretching 10- 15 feet from the flats (approximately 20 degree slope) to where it breaks over (approximately 38 degree slope). 10 to 20 inches of new snow had formed a wind slab that was beginning to turn into a cornice. This wind effected snow from the storm earlier this week sat on top of what we believe to be an old patch of snow from the September storm that was 0 to 12 inches from the ground.

Avalanches

  • Avalanche Description: Bald Mountain East Aspect Approximately 12,300 feet elevation We were traveling along the edge of the band of snow that wind was depositing along the edge of the break-over onto the east face. We observed what we thought to be dangerous wind affected snow in and along the top of the chute. We agreed we would give the small cornice a wide berth and ski down for a couple turns along the very edge of the band of snow next to the grass. When skinning uphill towards the top of the band band of snow adjacent to the chute, a crack shot out in front of me traveling up and to the left along where the cornice was beginning to form. The wind effected snow collapsed along the length of the cornice and then stepped down into the old snow below we believed to be from September. The chute slid to the ground from this point along the chutes entire length. There was not much snow along the length of the rest of the chute past the wind deposited snow at the top. R2 – D2 Crown was about 2 feet in depth at its highest point, about 100 feet across. Length of the slide’s path appeared to be about 300 meters

images from avalanche.state.co.us

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