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Warm Weather Leads to Unstable Area Snow

Mar 18, 2015

Credit Aspen Snowmass/Jeremy Swanson

The Aspen Skiing Company closed 30% of the terrain on three of its mountains Wednesday. Aspen Public Radio’s Carolyn Sackariason reports.

There’s been at least four nights where temperatures did not allow for the snow to freeze, causing instability on the steep stuff. Company spokesman Jeff Hanle.

“Highlands. Steeplechase. Temerity. Highland Bowl. Aspen Mountain. Walsh’s, Kristi, Hyrup’s. Bear Paw, S1, Short Snort, Zaugg Dump. The Dumps. Silver Rush, Super 8 gully, so all the steep stuff over by 1A. Gent’s Ridge, below the bottom of Gent’s Ridge lift, Glades to Jackpot. That’s pretty unusual.”

Hanle is reading a report from the mountain managers on what had been closed. Hanle didn’t have specifics at Snowmass but the high elevation terrain was also closed. Often in the springtime certain runs will be closed at various times in the day because of sun-baked, unstable snow. That was the case on Tuesday when the B-Fore run in Highland bowl was closed. An avalanche occurred anyway because a father and son from outside of the area unknowingly went under the rope in search for an easier way down the slushy slope. As they traversed, they triggered a slide below them. They were uninjured. Again, Jeff Hanle.

“What happened yesterday is indicative of what’s going on right now. So had that not happened yesterday and we had another night of non-freezing temperatures we probably would have closed it anyway.”

Temperatures are predicted to drop below freezing in the coming nights, and steep terrain will open accordingly. New snow should also help.