Colorado

Dec 23, 2010 7:43 PM by Zach Thaxton

Avalanche danger "incredibly high;" tips for drivers & skiers

Avalanche danger in Colorado's mountains is at an all-time worst, according to some experts.  Snowfall amounts described as "epic" by some forecasters have dumped feet of snow in parts of Colorado's high-country, creating extremely dangerous conditions for anyone utilizing the mountains for travel or recreation.

"I have never seen the avalanche danger as high as it is now," said Bill Houghton of Mountain Chalet outdoor equipment store in downtown Colorado Springs.  "It is incredibly dangerous in the backcountry right now."  Houghton notes that a majority of Colorado's mountainous region is under either "considerable" or "high" avalanche danger as Christmas weekend approaches, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.  He says a typical set of avalanche safety equipment, including an avalanche beacon, probe, shovel, and preparedness pack, can cost a few hundred dollars.

The American Red Cross advises drivers to equip their vehicles with winter weather preparedness kits including blankets, dry clothing, gloves, socks, wool caps, high-energy snacks, several bottles of water, a small shovel and other small tools, sand or kitty litter for traction, jumper cables, a first aid kit, a flashlight and extra batteries, candles and matches.  Jaici Murcia with the Colorado Springs chapter of the Red Cross says you can purchase ready-made preparedness packs or assemble them yourself.  "Every week when you go grocery shopping, just pick an item or two that you can add to your grocery list and build your kit over a couple of months," Murcia said.  "That way it doesn't break the bank, but it also gives you the opportunity to put together some really vital tools for winter preparedness."

Link:  Colorado Avalanche Information Center
Link:  American Red Cross

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