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Wonder What's Going on in Colorado?
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Updated 2 months ago
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2 months ago

EXTREME Avalanche Danger (5 of 5) and an Avalanche Warning for Vail and Summit County, Sawatch, Gunnison and Aspen zones. Do not travel in the backcountry. Historic avalanches expected to valley floors.

https://www.summitdaily.com/news/avalanche-ruptures-natural-gas-line-i-70-closed-between-frisco-and-vail/

A-Basin is closed today - presumably due to avalanche mitigation on the road to the area.

https://www.summitdaily.com/news/snow-pummels-summit-county-ski-resorts-overnight-copper-mountain-on-delayed-opening/

and several fun videos of closed roads and avalanche mitigation that caused avalanches to cross them

https://www.summitdaily.com/news/video-controlled-avalanche-closes-i-70-with-8-to-15-feet-of-snow-covering-road/

 

2 months ago

Heading out to Winter Park the first week of April - so I have monitoring conditions out there. They have gotten a ton of snow lately.

JimK - DCSki Columnist
2 months ago

There were quite a few small slides visible at Snowbird today, 3/7/19 too.  There has been about a foot of new spring snow (high moisture) in the last 24 hrs on top of older, dryer snow.

2 months ago

Uncontrolled slides, I take it?

2 months ago

Well, this is getting serious.

 

An uncontrolled avlanache today  burried multiiple cars under up to 15 feet of snow on CO 91 — the road from I-70 near Copper to Leadville. 

https://www.summitdaily.com/news/multiple-cars-trapped-under-15-feet-of-snow-after-massive-avalanche-near-copper-mountain/

 

and in a warning of the type I have never heard before, CDOT advised travellers to stay off I-70 thru the mountains

https://www.summitdaily.com/news/cdot-tells-travelers-to-stay-off-i-70-through-mountains/

“Every inch of avalanche terrain is extremely dangerous today,” CAIC said in a statement Thursday. “Avalanches are running to valley floors and some are exceeding historic run outs.”

 

 

2 months ago

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. 

2 months ago

Jim, are you skiing Alta or Snowbird this weekend?  I’m in town for a conference and will likely be skiing the Fri-Mon

JimK - DCSki Columnist
2 months ago

Reisen wrote:

Jim, are you skiing Alta or Snowbird this weekend?  I’m in town for a conference and will likely be skiing the Fri-Mon

I may be at Snowbird all three days, not sure.  Send PM if you want to try to make a few turns together.  Great conditions at both places and they should get possibly another foot of snow Friday.

2 months ago

I got back from Steamboat Monday. Between Friday-Sunday there was 26” of snow, and I would say the last 12” of it were truly the dry snow they are known for. Hands down it was 3 of the most fun days I’ve had on snow. It was a significant improvement over the snowpack they had in early February 2018. 

Steamboat might not have the steeps of some of the other resorts, but even on the powder day weekends the crowds spread out very well once you get off the gondola, lift lines were usually less than 5 mins, and we may have waited 10 for the gondola on Sunday morning. There is also a lot of off slope night life and other activities

2 months ago

UPDATE 3:30 p.m.: Arapahoe Basin Ski Area chief operating officer Alan Henceroth announced on his blog Thursday afternoon that the ski area won’t open Friday morning and may open later in the day on Friday, though that, too, is uncertain.

 

“We will have to see how the avalanche mitigation work goes,” Henceroth said. “There is substantial work planned for the morning. It absolutely pains me to say this but, PLEASE stay away until we can get this situation resolved.

“This is a time of great uncertainty,” Henceroth added. “We have wildly changing weather and snowpack conditions. This afternoon we saw a couple more large slides on the East Wall — TJ’s and Jet Chute. The Professor and Widowmaker are still critical and unresolved concerns. I realize that some people want to know an exact time when things are going to happen. Unfortunately, we are working on Mother Nature’s terms right now. While she is really delivering the goods with these storms, she isn’t always easy to work with.”

2 months ago

Yet another avalanche story 

https://www.summitdaily.com/news/local/historic-avalanche-cycle-wreaks-havoc-in-colorado-mountains/

 

the last line in the story: “I think it’s safe to say that nobody alive has seen a week like this,” 

2 months ago

Years ago I heard it said that the snow totals and incidence of extreme blizzards would increace before going away towards higher lattitudes and higher elevations.  We’ve even seen some pretty extraordiary snow dumps down here in Central NC since 1999.  Warmer air carries more moisture, and when that hits a polar vortex or cold front we get what we’re now seeing.

 

Is it possible that people could get tired of so much powder?  I also suspect the higher variability in temps has the ground warmer more often further destabilizing things.  Be careful out there folks. 

2 months ago

 SKY chutes between breck and copper will need a new name, at least one entirely new avy path has been created.

Unfortunately there has been a death associated with this cycle off of Jones pass which is to the left of hwy 40 as you ascend to Berthoud pass. Apparently a group with Powder Addiction Snowcat based in empire was caught and a guide was buried and killed.  CAIC warning was Extreme; strange and very very sad.

RIP, this has been a year with a lot of tragedies, largely burial suffocation, but this is an unprecedented avalanche cycle already.

I will say that the CDOT cams showed the Berthoud Pass parking lot virtually empty, which is also unprecedented after a big storm, so I guess most are recognizing the danger. Loveland pass is closed and apparently the professor slide zone won’t release despite efforts so A-basin remains closed

2 months ago

The WaPo has a dashcam video from a vehicle hit by one of the slides. The first 15 seconds or so of the video are pretty scary.

 

Imagine peacefully driving down the road and then …..

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/03/04/watch-an-avalanche-devour-colorado-highway-seconds/?utm_term=.36e9f900521e

edit add:

The WaPo video is somewhat unpredictable. Here’s a better one:

https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/avalanche-sends-apos-big-white-170633920.html

2 months ago

Now here’s a before and after shot — this is of Peak 1 visible from downtown Frisco colorado

 

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10219122576045465&set=p.10219122576045465&type=3&theater

 

I can’t seem to manage how to post pictures, 

2 months ago

Apparently Breckenridge had an inbounds avalanche last Friday off of Imperial Express. Several people were caught up in it, but no one was killed or injured. One of them told his story.

 

https://www.summitdaily.com/news/a-hell-of-a-ride-skiers-recount-riding-out-fridays-in-bounds-avalanche-at-breckenridge-ski-resort/

2 months ago

crgildart wrote:

Years ago I heard it said that the snow totals and incidence of extreme blizzards would increace before going away towards higher lattitudes and higher elevations.  We’ve even seen some pretty extraordiary snow dumps down here in Central NC since 1999.  Warmer air carries more moisture, and when that hits a polar vortex or cold front we get what we’re now seeing.

uno CDart..your on to something..last year Sqaw Valley made it to July 15th due to high moisture coliding with displaced Jetstream Polar Vortexes…this year due to More Warming they might only make it to July 7th…its happening Bud…..Snow as we know it will be non existent…Yeh…I read that somewhere years ago too!…Meanwhile backing out of LaLa Land and into the real world luckily that high moisture near melting snow as it falls into extremely warmer and warmer air temps somehow mysteriously holds on till mid summer..and somehow the Arctic ice is still gaining ice as I write…go figure……wait..there is Al Gore!…spotted at his local seaside  town bank near his mansion on the Beach cashing another Check!!$$$$…Watch out for that searise Al!!!

2 months ago

F&s - your want to ignore science so badly and want to believe your little alternative facts so badly that your brain has turned to Trumpian mush. 

Denis - DCSki Supporter
2 months ago

And, so it goes, on DCSki.  It’s part of the entertainment. 😀

2 months ago

snowsmith wrote:

F&s - your want to ignore science so badly and want to believe your little alternative facts so badly that your brain has turned to Trumpian mush. 

So what caused my mush b4 Trump?….been talking about this for years and years here…..maybe u ought to think outside of your little box…lots of new thinking has been coming out lately on this subject and just like “Settled science” on diet and many other things,new opinions are evolving and Data is changing thoughts….more and more scientist are coming out of that little box closet….remember….Science is the belief in the Ignorance of the Experts..and those experts have a lifetime of time and money invested in their theory so its Human nature to just Jackass up and not budge …..thats your ballgame not mine…

2 months ago

Yawn

2 months ago

fishnski wrote:

snowsmith wrote:

F&s - your want to ignore science so badly and want to believe your little alternative facts so badly that your brain has turned to Trumpian mush. 

Science is the belief in the Ignorance of the Experts..and those experts have a lifetime of time and money invested in their theory so its Human nature to just Jackass up and not budge …..thats your ballgame not mine…

Ignorance of experts? I am an engineer and scientist. We are constantly evolving the way we do things. Based on data. I don’t go around looking for science to support my ‘beliefs’. Science is not about belief, it’s about understanding how the physical world works. Demonizing scientists because you’re hell bent on proving them wrong is never going to work. Looking at alternative theories is certainly fine. But the data is just so overwhelming. Remove thy head from the sand.

2 months ago

When all that snow warms up a bit and gets wetter roofs are going ot statrt caving in.

2 months ago

Got a front seat…who is making the popcorn?  Have at it boyz!!!

2 months ago

Winter Storm Warning for Colorado Mtns with heavy snow fcasted today…hell of a storm whipping up in the center of the country….extended range is for below average temps…hope this doesn’t mean more avalanches…my Brother and sisnlaw like to snowshoe up there…..anyway…an expanding list of folks are leaving the group think Herd mentality on Climate  that has been going on for too many years and are speaking out…here is one of the latest…..
“Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace: “The whole climate crisis is not only Fake News, it’s Fake Science. There is no climate crisis, there’s weather and climate all around the world, and in fact carbon dioxide is the main building block of all life.” .
….adding to that..at 400ppm co2 is at a very low level today of what has been as much as 7 to 8000ppm in the past..could go on forever with data.charts.articles…Debunked theories on the co2 effects..ect..ect…but im boring the ole man LHC…dont want him to fall off his computer chair waiting to post another samo samo about the samo samo thats been posted here over and over again …have a nice summer uall…when it gets here!…..Fishnski has left the house……

2 months ago

fishnski wrote:

 …have a nice summer uall…when it gets here!…..Fishnski has left the house……

what a pity

 

Back to avalanche and deep snow, in addition to your standard run of the mill d5, r5  avalanches that take out whole stands of 350 yr old timber, and the terrifying prospect of suffocating in a tree well or just a 20 foot drift,  to add to the fun the Colorado Avalance Information Service is now reporting multilpe incidents, one fatal, of roof top avalanches

2 months ago

kemperski wrote:

 

 

Back to avalanche and deep snow, in addition to your standard run of the mill d5, r5  avalanches that take out whole stands of 350 yr old timber, and the terrifying prospect of suffocating in a tree well or just a 20 foot drift,  to add to the fun the Colorado Avalance Information Service is now reporting multilpe incidents, one fatal, of roof top avalanches

Yes lots of concern about that now, and another major storm is about to hit.

 

https://www.summitdaily.com/news/summit-county-officials-be-wary-of-snowpack-on-roofs-around-gas-meters/

2 months ago

“Mile-wide slide breaks near Aspen Highlands ski area; home saved by barricade.., The avalanche broke over a mile wide and ran more than 3,000 vertical feet downhill, CAIC estimated from aerial observations. Lazar said it started just outside the boundary of Aspen Highlands ski area. …The snow and debris fell with such force that it kept going once it hit the valley floor, traveling a couple hundred feet up the east slope and then spilling downvalley.”

 

Now THAT is one BIG avalanche

 

https://www.summitdaily.com/news/historic-sized-avalanche-hits-conundrum-valley-southwest-of-aspen/

2 months ago

Well there’s another update.

Waaaay to much of a good thing it appears

 

Well the bright side of the story is, for the first time in years, there should be lots of water flowing down the Colorado River in 2 or 3  months.

 

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area announced on its social media channels Wednesday afternoon that it will close early on Wednesday, at 2 p.m.

In its announcement, the ski area cited “deteriorating snow and avalanche conditions along Highway 6” as its reason for closing all operations at 2pm today.

Earlier in the day on Wednesday, at 10:41 a.m., A-Basin closed its Montezuma Bowl terrain and Beavers terrain due to weather. A-Basin also closed uphill access Wednesday morning.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
2 months ago

Good article about all the techniques used for avalanche mitigation at Telluride.  I knew about boot packing for the Highlands Bowl but hadn’t heard of a compacting tractor before.

https://coloradosun.com/2019/03/08/how-telluride-battles-avalanches/

“…

The key to reducing the risk of catastrophic slides on that ground-level weak layer is to attack the snow early with every type of compaction possible. Crested Butte, Aspen Highlands and Silverton Mountain deploy armies of walking skiers to the resorts’ steepest pitches to break down the weak layer, often weeks before lifts even start turning. Those bootpackers knock the fragility out of that faceted bottom layer, breaking up the smooth, yet unstable, surface of the snow, making it more likely to bond with new layers of snow. Telluride ski patrollers this season started in October, skiing onto rocky slopes with barely 12 inches of snow to tear up the weak layer. 

“One of the reasons you see big avalanches in the backcountry and so few in the resorts is because the resorts areas have been compacted, bombed repeatedly, avalanched and ski cut,” Tukman says. “Compaction is key to resort avalanche mitigation.” 

Telluride also employs the Bosse Roller, a three-wheeled, remote-controlled tractor that connects to the winch of a snowcat and is lowered onto steep snow, where its paddles churn through early season snow, breaking down that weak layer. Created by Mark Bosse, a lift mechanic at Telluride, the tractor-tired roller is now used to beat down early-season snowpack at Monarch, Copper Mountain, Winter Park and Arapahoe Basin. A patroller with a remote control device at the bottom of the slope can steer the roller as its lowered from the winch on the snowcat above.

…”

2 months ago

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) has still not released a final report on the Jones pass fatality associated with Powder Addiction cat guides.  This the longest I have seen them take to prepare a final report (I may be wrong) 10 days for the final report on the death in an avalanche training course in the area of silverton earlier this year, about the same for the 5 person fatality by Loveland Pass a few years ago.

 

They are overworked and understaffed especially during these historic cycles but I think this must be a difficult report

 

I ski terrain off of Berthoud Pass and Loveland everytime I go to Colorado, Jones pass is the zone beside a lot of the terrain at Berthoud.  I have not skiied there.  I was skiing within a few hundred yards (a few hundred yards on the other side of the road and of that drainage)  of the Loveland incident the same weekend.  This stuff is important to me and I am checking daily for the report

2 months ago
Curious how things are looking out that way. My wife is driving to Utah next weekend (nonski reason) and I’m concerned about the avalanches on CO and flooding in Nebraska. How are things looking?
2 months ago

I do not think that would be a problem, not avalanches at least, if she’s driving and not skiing backcountry at worst there would be delays.  Floods could be a whole other source of road closures but I don’t know, not yet I would guess?  

 

Tell her to keep the CDOT travel site at hand on her phone, it is super timely and useful

https://www.cotrip.org/map.htm

2 months ago

Thanks.  I will keep that in mind.  Not sure which route we’re going to use.

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