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Dreaming about a powder day Friday? Avalanche risk will remain high Thursday into Friday, CAIC says

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Posted at 1:55 PM, Mar 14, 2024

While Friday looks like it will become a great powder day for skiers and snowboarders, backcountry travel will be extremely hazardous and the Colorado Avalanche Information Center is warning people of the dangers that will persist Thursday into Friday outside of ski area boundaries.

Multiple avalanche warnings are in effect across Colorado's mountains as snow continues to fall around the state Thursday.

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As of 1 p.m., those warnings are impacting the Front Range mountains, including Rocky Mountain National Park, Indian Peaks Wilderness, Berthoud Pass, Loveland Pass, James Peak Wilderness, Mount Blue Sky area and Pikes Peak, CAIC said. The southern Sawatch Range, including Monarch Pass, is also under the warning, as well as the Sangre de Cristos Mountains.

"Expect many avalanches to break within the storm snow," CAIC said. "Some avalanches will break on deeper weak layers and propagate widely across terrain features. Avalanches may run long distances or to valley floors. Many will run naturally."

Ashcroft avalanche
Ashcroft avalanche

The level of avalanche danger Thursday is considered high — a 4 out of 5 ranking. CAIC is asking adventurers to avoid avalanche terrain Thursday into Friday, especially any slopes steeper than 30 degrees.

Conditions through Friday morning will keep the avalanche danger elevated, and large to very large avalanches are likely during this time. Avalanches triggered by people are probable, CAIC said.

The avalanche warning expires at 5 p.m. Friday.

Avalanches are more likely to break east of the Continental Divide, while they will break on persistent weak layers on the west side of the divide, resulting in very large and deeper avalanches, CAIC said.

"Either one will be large enough to kill you, so it doesn’t change travel advice," CAIC said.

Some Front Range mountains, as well as places in the foothills, may see snow totals above 4 feet by the end of the day, according to the National Weather Service out of Boulder.

Always check the CAIC website for the latest on avalanche forecasts before heading out the door.

Roof avalanche

Roof avalanches are also a concern Thursday as snow piles up on top of buildings. CAIC is reminding people to avoid walking directly under rooftops that are holding snow.

These kinds of slides kill people every year, CAIC said.

Travel to the mountains is expected to stay hazardous through the rest of the day. Check COtrip.org for the latest.

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