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Colorado: CDOT eyes automated avalanche blasting system for Berthoud Pass corridor

A powder avalanche blasts down a hillside near Berthoud Pass, Colorado. Photo courtesy CDOT.

Pilot project to be considered for the Stanley slide path

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A year or so after first talking up the idea of installing an automated avalanche blasting system on Berthoud Pass, the Colorado Department of Transportation is getting ready to hold a public info session to discuss the idea with the public.

At an elevation of 11,307 feet, Berthoud Pass averages about 500 inches of snow per year, and the area has 55 identified slide paths, many of them directly threatening U.S. Highway 40. The most recognized avalanche path, and proposed site of CDOT’s pilot project, is the Stanley Slide area located on US 40 at Mile Post 249.8. Continue reading

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Colorado: Backcountry avalanche danger persists

Numerous slides reported from the Vail-Summit and Front Range mountains

Beautiful tracks in a dangerous spot.

SUMMIT COUNTY — A few days of sunny and relatively warm conditions haven’t eased the backcountry avalanche danger by much, according to forecasters with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

The hazard is rated as considerable in nearly all the mountains of Colorado — with the exception of the south San Juans. With dense slabs sitting atop a weak base of faceted sugar snow, natural slides are still likely in some spots, and backcountry travelers can easily trigger avalanches by hitting weak spots in the snowpack

Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding and conservative decision-making are all required for safe travel in the backcountry, according to the CAIC’s latest bulletin. 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

Weatherblog: Some spring powder in Summit County?

Wilderness Sports sponsors the Summit Voice weatherblog. Click to visit Wilderness Sports online.

Winter weather advisories posted for Tuesday night through late Wednesday

A spring sunset over Buffalo Mountain in Summit County, Colorado. BOB BERWYN PHOTO.

A big-picture view of the Pacific shows a big subtropical jet stream far to the south and some remnant winter energy swirling in the Gulf of Alaska. In between, an area of disturbed weather will move across the Rockies the next few days, bringing some fresh snow.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — A classic spring storm is rolling across the West, marked by a deep trough of low pressure extending down into the desert Southwest. As an “inside slider,” the low will move east of the Continental Divide and set up a deep, moist northeast flow that could produce significant snowfall on the east slope of the Front Range under upslope conditions.

A winter weather advisory from 12 p.m. Tuesday night to 6 p.m. Wednesday (May 11), with 4 to 8 inches of snow possible above 7,000 feet along the Front Range. The winter weather advisory extends to the higher terrain of Summit County, where the National Weather forecast also calls for the chance of 4 to 8 inches of snow across the higher terrain. A-Basin could pick up some decent snow once the weather system moves east of the area Wednesday and the flow switches around to the north.

Farther west and south, around Vail, Aspen and Crested Butte, a winter storm warning is in effect, with heavier snow expected across south-facing slopes Tuesday night, shifting to north-facing slopes Wednesday. Continue reading

Weatherblog: More snow on the way

Wilderness Sports sponsors the Summit Voice weatherblog. Click to visit Wilderness Sports online.

A NOAA satellite image shows a typical La Niña pattern setting up, with the storm track diving from the Gulf of Alaska into the Four Corners area.

Cool, unsettled weather to continue for the next week; timing of snow uncertain

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Storm totals from Tuesday’s fast-moving cold front include 7 inches of snow at Wolf Creek and Copper Mountain, as well as 5 inches at A-Basin and Keystone and 6 inches at Loveland, according to the  Colorado Ski Country USA snow report.

Clearing skies allowed the overnight temperatures to drop down into the teens and even into the single digits at higher elevations, with automated weather stations at Berthoud Pass and Loveland Pass reporting 9 degrees late Tuesday evening. Highs the next few days will be in the mid-20s and lows each night in the low to mid-teens in the valleys of Summit County. Continue reading

Weatherblog: A few more days of sun – then, button up!

Wilderness Sports sponsors the Summit Voice weatherblog. Click to visit Wilderness Sports online.

Autumn berries ripen along the shore of Dillon Reservoir.

Incoming Pacific storm could bring snow early next week

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Looks like three, possibly four more days of warm and sunny weather ahead, with highs climbing nicely into the 50s through Saturday, and possibly Sunday, very close to average for this time of year. Overnight lows are ranging a few degrees above normal; they should be down in the low 20s rather than the high 20s. The record high for Oct. 14 is 72 degrees, set in 1950. The record low is 4 degrees, set way back in 1923.

By Sunday night, a vigorous and cold weather system moves in from the Pacific Northwest, bringing a decent chance of snow the first part of next week. Continue reading

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