During the past week backcountry skiers have triggered more than 10 avalanches in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Although nobody was seriously injured there have been some dangerous close calls.
There were six reports of skier-triggered San Juan avalanches in the Wolf Creek Pass area. And another five in the western San Juan Mountains.
One skier was caught in two avalanches. They were caught and carried about 100 to 130 feet and deployed an airbag. The skier was “pushed and knocked around but able to stay upright.”
The skier then came to a stop and got the airbag operational again. Attempting to ski down, the skier was caught in a second avalanche, carried another 100 to 130 feet and deployed the airbag again.
The unstable snowpack is a result of early season snow in October and dry weather for weeks in November, causing the snowpack to become weak. Then, additional snow on top of that weak layer causes avalanches.