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Big snows & avalanche warnings in the Colorado mountains

Storm to linger through Friday, followed by some of the coldest temps of the winter

La Niña asserts herself with a strong and moist northwest flow bringing snow to the northern Rockies throug Friday evening.

Widespread snow is expected through late Friday.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — La Niña pulled out all the stops for the day of March, bringing a moist northwest flow that dropped copious snow across Colorado. The central mountains and the northern San Juans did especially well with the latest storm, as Crested Butte picked up 19 inches for a 24-hour snow total, with 11 inches at Monarch, 10 inches at Aspen and 24 inches at Silverton Mountain.

And the National Weather Service says it’s not over yet. Heavier snow will begin again Friday morning and will be widespread across the state, with the northern mountains favored under the northwest flow, according to the latest update. Continue reading

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Colorado: Avalanche danger high, warnings in San Juans

Biggest snow slides of the season expected in southwestern mountains

The backcounry avalanche danger is at the high end of the scale across the Colorado mountains.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A strong storm winding up across Colorado has already dropped up to 2 feet of snow in the Southwestern mountains, leading to an avalanche warning from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

The warning is in effect for both the north and south San Juan zones, where another 12 inches could fall by the end of the day. A natural avalanche cycle is expected and backcountry travel is discouraged. Some of the avalanches could be the biggest of the season so far, according to the CAIC. Continue reading

Colorado: A little powder in the backcountry

Not a whole lot of snow in the Colorado high country, but enough for large slides like this one that partially buried a skier near Berthoud Pass. PHOTO COURTESY CAIC. Click on the image for more photos and the full report, including a video presentation.

Avalanche danger holding steady; isolated large slides still possible

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After a quick spike in the backcountry avalanche danger late in the weekend, the new snow in most areas has settled and bonded reasonably well to the old surface, thanks in part to a warm start to the storm and relatively calm winds.

Overall, the avalanche danger is rated as moderate for all aspects near and above treeline. Natural avalanches are unlikely, while triggered avalanches are possible. Large avalanches are possible in isolated areas. Below treeline, the danger is rated as low with a slight chance of triggered slides in isolated spots. Continue reading

Colorado: Avalanches possible in the backcountry

The buik of the weekend storm is to the southeast of Colorado, while another fetch of moisture streaks across Idaho and northern Utah toward Colorado.

High weekend winds built potentially fragile slabs at higher elevations; highway safety crews trigger 8 slides on Loveland Pass

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — The weekend storm has moved off to the east, but a lingering northwest flow will fuel at least a few on-and-off showers through Tuesday before high pressure brings at least a few days of dryer weather and a gradual warming trend in the second half of the week.

Temperatures will run a few degrees below average the next few days, with highs in the low to mid-30s through mid-week, possibly warming back to near 40 degrees by Friday, and overnight lows in the teens.

The heaviest snowfall during the weekend was in the Steamboat zone and especially around Rabbit Ears Pass, where up to 16 inches of snow fell. Grand Mesa, near Grand Junction, and parts of the West Elks, also picked up decent snowfall totals, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

Continue reading

Possible avalanche burial near Beaver Creek

Despite the sunny weather, triggered and natural slides likely on wind-loaded slopes; several significant avalanches reported the past few days

High winds the past few days have built brittle wind slabs near and above treeline.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A couple of days of sunny and warmer weather has lured skiers and riders into the backcountry, but forecasters with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center are warning to watch out for “fat cornices and plump-looking slopes,” where there is a good chance for large and dangerous slides.

The latest CAIC bulletin reports that there was a full burial near Beaver Creek Saturday and describes several other large avalanches from around the region, including in popular backcountry side-country areas like Loveland Pass. Another large avalanche, fracturing up to eight feet deep, ran in the Tenmile Range Friday. Get more details at the CAIC’s website. Continue reading

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