The risk of avalanches along the Front Range region will increase from “low” to “moderate” on Saturday, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC).
The moderate risk will be present at and above treeline, but not below it.
A winter storm will move into Colorado Friday evening, which will bring new snow and strong wind that can build thicker, denser slabs of snow on top of weaker snow already on the ground, CAIC said. This increases the risk of the avalanches.
CAIC recommends staying on lower-angle, wind-sheltered terrain on Saturday along the Front Range.
The map below from CAIC shows the current avalanche forecast for Colorado's various mountainous regions.
Avalanche danger will also increase Saturday from “low” to “moderate” on CAIC’s scale in the:
- Steamboat & Flat Tops region
- Sawatch region
- Gunnison region
- Aspen region
- Vail and Summit County region
The risk of an avalanche will remain low Friday and Saturday for the:
- Sangre de Cristo region
- South San Juan region
- North San Juan region
- Grand Mesa region
Winter weather advisories are already in place in the central and northern mountains, which could see between 4 and 10 inches of new snow. Some areas at higher elevation may see as much as a foot. Winds will gust up to 65 mph above treeline.
As of Friday morning, there were no reports of anybody injured in an avalanche in the 2020-2021 season, as there have only been a handful of snowstorms.
In the 2019-2020 season, 33 people were either caught or buried in avalanches, and six people died. In the 2018-2019 season, 62 people were caught or buried and eight people died.
Before you head into the snowy backcountry, make sure you understand how to watch for avalanche-prone areas and signs of danger.