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Avalanches kill two in Colorado

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High avalanche danger prevailed across the Colorado mountains when two backcountry skiers died in snow slides Feb. 10.

High slide danger persists across the mountains

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Colorado’s exceptionally deep snowpack turned deadly this week, as a backcountry traveler near Kebler Pass was killed in a large avalanche. Search and rescue crews also found  another victim in the backcountry between Keystone and Breckenridge after a two-day search.

According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, the Feb. 10 Kebler Pass slide involved two snowmobilers caught in a “very large avalanche” on a south- to southeast-facing slope below treeline. The slide broke between two to five-feet deep, about 600 feet wide and ran about 750 vertical feet. Debris at the bottom of the slide piled up to 20 feet deep.

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Near-record January snow in Breckenridge

Pre-dawn, post snowstorm glow on Buffalo Mountain, above Silverthorne, Colorado.

Pre-dawn, post snowstorm glow on Buffalo Mountain, above Silverthorne, Colorado.

Blue River Basin snowpack well above average for the season

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — The Blue River Basin snowpack is in good shape at midwinter, with above average snowfall during all four months of the 2014 water year, which started Oct. 1, 2013.

Last month really helped bolster the totals, as Breckenridge weather-watcher Rick Bly reported the third-snowiest January on record, dating back to the late 1800s. Bly tallied 60.5 inches at his weather station, where he tracks precipitation for the National Weather Service. According to Bly, only January 1899 (80.4 inches) and 1996 (71.8 inches) were snowier. Continue reading

Morning photo: Snow daze …

It just keeps on coming

Frisco snow.

Frisco snow.

FRISCO —It just keeps getting deeper in Summit County, with the latest round of snow fueled by an atmospheric river — sometimes called a pineapple connection — tapping subtropical Pacific moisture from beyond Hawaii. For us in the Colorado high country it translates to snow, snow and more snow. January will go down as the third-wettest on record in Breckenridge, and the first week of February has already brought a month’s worth of snow to the area, with more moisture on the way. There’s really only one thing to do when it’s like this — get out and revel while you can! Continue reading

Morning photo: Snow!

Ephemeral …

Buffalo Mountain gleams in the morning light after a big snowfall.

Buffalo Mountain gleams in the morning light after a big snowfall.

FRISCO —As long as I’ve lived in snow country, I’ve never become jaded to snow. To me, it’s one the most beautiful substances on the planet, and there’s something completely magical to seeing the landscape transformed by a thick new blanket of the frozen white stuff. The most recent storm to move through Summit County was a good one, reminiscent for me of a Sierra storm cycle, when you measure accumulations by feet, not inches. The storm took a while to clear out, so I had two mornings to go out and try capture the feeling, both with my DSLR and with the iPhone. Can you tell which pictures in this set have been massaged by various iPhone apps and filters? If you like the snapshots in this post, please visit our Fine Art America online gallery for a full selection of Summit County landscapes. Continue reading

Summit County snowfall near average through December

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January snowfall in Summit County, Colorado.

2013 ended up as 2d-wettest on record for Dillon weather station

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — A quarter of the way through the 2014 water year (which started Oct. 1, 2013), snowfall and precipitation in Summit County are just about average, according to data from the two official National Weather Service observation sites.

In Breckenridge, long-time weather watcher Rick Bly measured 27.3 inches of snow in December, just a bit more than the long-term average of 22.4 inches. But the water equivalent in that snow was just 1.43 inches, slightly below the average 1.51 inches, Bly said. Continue reading

Colorado: Big slides likely in the backcountry

Forecasters issue avalanche advisory for Summit-Vail and Front Range mountain zones

An avalanche near Vail Pass, Colorado.

Big, dangerous slides like this slab avalanche in Uneva Bowl, near Vail Pass, are likely in the Colorado backcountry the next few days. bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Dangerous avalanche conditions will persist across most of Colorado’s mountains for the next few days, as new snow and winds combine to bring the snowpack to its breaking point. With more snow in the forecast, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center issued an advisory for the Vail-Summit and Front Range zones, valid through 8 a.m. Monday (Jan. 12). Continue reading

Morning photo: Sunday set

Winter wonderland

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Shooting into the sun with an iPhone, using the camera’s HDR to capture a bit of the iridescence in the upper level clouds as a winter storm descended on Summit County.

FRISCO —It certainly feels like the heart of winter right now in Summit County, as well it should. Mid-January is the time for snow and ice, and this year Mother Nature has delivered on time. Today’s Sunday set is a little photographic homage to the white stuff, an important part of life in the Colorado high country in so many ways. Visit our online gallery at Fine Art America for a full selection of Colorado landscape images, available as fine art prints or greeting cards. Continue reading

Are you ready for Zuma Bowl?

More terrain opening at A-Basin

'Zuma powder. bberwyn photo.

‘Zuma powder. bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Colorado powder seekers will line up for the rope drop at A-Basin’s Montezuma Bowl today, with steady early season snowfall ensuring plenty of freshies on the resort’s backside.

This season’s opening comes a month earlier than last year, and the resort announced that several intermediate runs will be open and groomed from top to bottom, including Columbine and Larkspur. Some of the favored tree-skiing stashes will also open, including Miner’s Glade.

More trail openings will be announced on the Arapahoe Basin Facebook page as well as Al’s Blog as they occur.

 

 

Colorado: East Vail snow slide kills one skier

Forecasters warn of persistent avalanche danger

FRISCO — Skiing the East Vail chutes when the avalanche danger is rated as considerable is a dangerous game of Russian Roulette. After numerous close calls in the area the past few weeks, a backcountry skier died in a snowslide on Monday, January 7. It is the second avalanche death in Colorado this season. The first occurred Dec. 31 on Parkview Mountain, west of Willow Creek Pass.

Outsideonline.com is reporting that the victim was 24-year-old Tony Seibert, the grandson of Vail co-founder Pete Seibert. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center confirmed the East Vail Chutes death, but the CAIC website offered few details on the deadly incident. The center’s avalanche experts will visit the site Jan. 8 to investigate the accident. Continue reading

Morning photo: Winter light

The chilly season!

Winter sunrise glow can be intense.

Winter sunrise glow can be intense.

FRISCO — A short and sweet photographic celebration of the winter season in Summit County, Colorado … Continue reading

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