Backcountry Deaths Amount on Colorado’s Front Range
“The forecasts warned that the most dangerous slopes were north through east to southeast, where recent winds have built fresh slabs as deep as 3 feet. The new snow is stressing a layer of weak, faceted snow crystals deep in the snowpack, which fails when burdened with heavy layers of new snow.” -Jason Blevins, The Colorado Sun
Blevins, J. (2021, February 14). Snowboarder, snowmobiler killed in two separate Colorado avalanches on Sunday. The Colorado Sun. Retrieved From https://coloradosun.com/2021/02/14/february-14-avalanches-colorado-two-killed/
Avalanche deaths have been stacking up rapidly in Colorado and especially across the Front Range in the last couple weeks. Last Sunday, two deaths were added to the total as a result of two separate incidents. In one case a backcountry snowboarder was buried in a slide off of Loveland Pass. The other slide happened on Rollins Pass outside of Winter Park where a snowmobiler was buried near the base of Mount Epworth. Most recently, another snowmobiler was killed in a massive slide in the Never Summer Mountain Range near the town of Rand. Colorado’s backcountry death total has now climbed to eleven and there is a lot of winter left. This number is currently tied for the deadliest Colorado winter on record which was back in 2012/13. All of the most recent deadly avalanches in the last couple weeks have all occurred on east facing slopes ranging from NE to SE and the danger continues to climb with additional snow weighing down on weak layers. The weak early season snowpack continues to persist many feet below the surface and can break at a moments notice. Please be careful and well studied before heading into the backcountry, we are on the verge of a record that we do not want to break!