Photo: Recent avalanche near Herman Gulch in the Front Range on an east-facing slope.   Photo courtesy CAIC

A Special Avalanche Advisory is in effect for the mountains of Colorado through Monday, February 15. Avalanche conditions are unusual and may become very dangerous as storms impact the mountains. Backcountry travelers can trigger avalanches that may break very widely and run the full length of the avalanche path.

Your normal routes and safety habits may not keep you out of a dangerous avalanche.

Regardless of what the avalanche danger is rated at in your zone, if you trigger an avalanche, the avalanche will be large enough to kill you. As you prepare to recreate in the backcountry over the weekend, make sure to check the avalanche forecast to find out details for your location. In some areas, there is a much greater chance that you can trigger a deadly avalanche. 

Now is not the time to thread the needle through avalanche terrain. Avalanches that break on deeply buried weak layers will release wider than you think and in surprising ways. You need to factor in a wide safety margin while traveling in the backcountry this weekend and consider avoiding all steep slopes. If your trip plan incorporates narrowly skirting those colored areas on a slope-angle shading map, your safety margins are probably too thin for these conditions.

Backcountry travelers need to take extra precautions this weekend. Check current conditions for the area you are planning to travel. Adjust your plan for the day to fit the current avalanche conditions.

Know Before You Go! Get the forecast here: