Colorado skiers, boarders brave dangerous avalanche conditions

Colorado skiers, boarders brave dangerous avalanche conditions

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - One of the avalanches near Jones Pass claimed the life of a backcountry skier Thursday, and the avalanche danger is on the minds of many as people prepare to head out to the mountains over the weekend.

It's been avalanche after avalanche this week -- there have been close to 400 in the past few days and more than 2,000 this winter. 

The snowstorms have created historic avalanche conditions for the state, and conditions continue to be dangerously high into the weekend. 

Some skiers and snowboarders we spoke with are on high alert.

"[We] just make sure that the weather is good and there is less of a chance of those avalanches happening and [we're] making sure the roads we go on are safe and not hazardous," said Christa Wacks who plans to go to Arapahoe Basin to ski.

The threat is giving even the most experienced skiers some fear.

"You can have all the knowledge in the world and be confident and do it all the time, but it will sneak up on you. Just know when it's safe and when it's not," said an employee at The Ski Shop affectionately known as Maui Matt.

He's been skiing for years and is now a backcountry skier. He had the following advice for anyone tempted to brave the conditions.

"Testing the snow, definitely having the correct backcountry gear," Matt said. "Go with enough people and not by yourself. Have your beacon, shovel, probe, and a float back to stay above to avalanche because most of the time you suffocate."

According to the Colorado Avalanche Center, you have about 15 minutes after an avalanche to try to dig yourself out.

It's an experience Carol Zendle says she came too close to having during the avalanches on I-70 Monday.

"We decided at the last minute Friday morning not to go skiing. There was an avalanche alert so we decided not to go and then we found out it happened later," she said.

With more snow expected near the mountains, it could make for a great experience on the slopes -- or a bad one if not prepared.

comments powered by Disqus

Must See Videos

  • Colts QB Andrew Luck retires
  • WATCH: Roxy the Therapy Dog helps welcome students back in Manitou Springs
  • 3 300-foot stacks demolished in Pueblo for proposed rail mill
  • Patrick Frazee Whats next
  • Rampart Rams have something to prove
  • WATCH: D14 and Roxy the Therapy Dog Welcome students back to school in Manitou

Recommended Stories