DENVER – Dangerous avalanche conditions continued Sunday for Colorado’s high country on the heels of a historic week which saw cars trapped on mountain highways, ski areas and an entire county close for business.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) tweeted Sunday morning that travel in the backcountry was not recommended and also warned drivers to avoid all avalanche terrain as historic-sized avalanches were possible.
Though officials said the potential to trigger a massive avalanche was decreasing by midday, the likelihood of surviving was “minimal.”
SPECIAL AVALANCHE ADVISORY for all Colorado mountains not in Warning. Backcountry avalanche conditions are dangerous. The potential for backcountry travelers to trigger massive & unsurvivable avalanches remains likely. Give avalanche paths and any other steep slope a wide berth. pic.twitter.com/vfKa1uY0Jr— CAIC:Statewide Info (@COAvalancheInfo) March 10, 2019
One such avalanche occurred Saturday off Highlands Ridge in Pitkin County, officials reported.
The historic-sized avalanche broke over a mile wide and ran over 3,000 vertical feet, taking out a large swath of forest and possibly destroyed an abandoned home that was protected by a defensive wedge, CAIC officials said.
On Saturday, avalanche control operations were performed on more than 20 avalanche paths on three mountain passes in southwestern Colorado, which will keep Red Mountain Pass closed for an indefinite amount of time, according to CDOT officials.
The Aspen and Sawatch Range areas are under an Avalanche Warning until noon Monday. Other areas including the Steamboat, the San Juans and the Grand Mesa mountain ranges remain under a Special Avalanche Advisory until 6 a.m. Monday.