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Colorado Avalanche Information Center documents 100 avalanches over President's Day weekend

2 people killed in avalanche over long weekend
CAIC avalanche_posted Feb 17 2020
Posted at 8:08 AM, Feb 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-20 11:07:11-05

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center said 100 avalanches tumbled down the state's mountains over the long President's Day weekend.

The avalanches were recorded between Feb. 14 and 17, 2020. CAIC reports that of the 100 documented:

  • 49 were large enough to bury, injure or kill a person
  • 18 were triggered by backcountry travelers
  • 4 people were caught in the slides (including three in a single incident on Feb. 15 where two people were killed)

In the 2019 avalanche year (which runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30 of the following year — so Oct. 1, 2018 through Sept. 30, 2019), more than 130 people were caught in the slides — a new record in Colorado. As of Sunday, CAIC reported that about 50 people had been caught in an avalanche so far for the 2020 avalanche year.

Of the people who end up in the path of one of these slides, six die each avalanche year on average in the state, according to CAIC. Four people have been killed by them this year. And, as CAIC noted, "We still have a lot of the year left."

CAIC said it wants to remind adventurers to check the avalanche forecast, as well as the weather, before heading out to the mountains. CAIC also recommends taking an avalanche safety training class.

The avalanches over President's Day weekend ranged in location, including, but not limited to:

  • Around Loveland Pass
  • Near the Eisenhower Tunnel
  • Red Mountain Pass
  • Gunnison
  • Gothic
  • Aspen
  • Willow Creek along the Front Range
  • Never Summer Ranch
  • Ten-Mile Range
  • Herman Gulch
  • Berthoud Pass (east and west side)
  • Mount Emmons
  • Buffalo Pass
  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Vail Pass

Most of these avalanches were natural or unintentional.

For the latest on avalanche conditions, click here.