KAJX

Series of avalanches closes Highland Bowl

Dec 12, 2016

Several avalanches closed Highland Bowl Sunday and Monday.
Credit Aspen Public Radio News

Highland Bowl remained closed Monday after a series of large avalanches the day prior.


Four significant slides between Ozone and B-4 runs were triggered with explosives as patrollers worked to mitigate risk to skiers and riders. Snow safety experts rated the destructive size as a high 3 on a scale of 1 to 5, meaning the avalanches could destroy a car and damage a truck.

A particularly dry November made for a slow start to the boot-packing season, where teams of skiers and riders work to stabilize snow in the Bowl prior to the public opening. OJ Melahn with the Aspen Highlands snow safety department said there wasn’t enough snow prior to Thanksgiving to begin building a solid base.

The slides occurred in a section of the bowl that had not yet been boot-packed and took out most of the snow that has fallen in the past weeks, all the way down to dirt.

Forecasters are calling for a big snow storm this week that could have skiers and riders back in the Bowl in the next couple of days.