Avalanche

Screenshot from powder.com

There’s been a troubling problem with avalanche deaths in recent years... and now Powder Magazine and gear company  Black Diamond have joined forces to figure out what's going on. They’ve hired a freelance journalist to dig deep into what happened during certain accidents-- and what's being done to help backcountry travelers make better decisions when avoiding avalanches. APR's Elise Thatcher talks with writer David Page about the project, called "The Human Factor."

CAIC

Wednesday’s big snowflakes were the first major sign of winter in Colorado’s high country and one organization is already warning powder hungry skiers to be wary of avalanches in the backcountry. 

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center put out a statement on Wednesday warning of avalanches in October. Avalanche Forecaster Scott Toepfer says it’s not uncommon to see slides this early in the season and usually skiers are unprepared.

Photo by Dale Atkins/RECCO

This is the time of year when backcountry skiing CAN get less risky. After dire avalanche warnings throughout the winter season, spring turns are often safer. But that’s not always a guarantee.

Photo by Dale Atkins/RECCO

It’s been a big avalanche season this winter, with some of the most powerful Colorado slides experts have seen. Now, the state’s hub for avalanche forecasting is hoping to add ways to help people avoid getting caught in avalanche accidents. The non-profit  Friends of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center is aiming to raise a hundred and fifty thousand dollars for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. To find out exactly what that money would go towards, Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher talks with Ethan Greene, Executive Director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. 

The Thompson Divide prompted conflicting statements by environmental groups and Garfield County this week. Avalanche danger has been sketchy lately because of certain unusual factors.  And if a snow slide happens inside a ski area, turns out the resort isn’t to blame. A Basalt advisor wins an award for her work with female investors. We say goodbye to a member of the Aspen Public Radio family, lost too soon.  And, we’ll wrap up our coverage of Aspen area athletes going to the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

CBS

There’s a lot of concern over avalanche danger in Colorado’s backcountry right now. That includes the Aspen area. But skiers and boarders also have to keep this in mind: avalanches can occur inside ski areas… and if they do, the resort isn’t necessarily at fault. That’s a new ruling by the Colorado Appeals Court. 

Colorado Avalanche Information Center

A combination of record snow, wind and warming temperatures created a disaster in the backcountry over the weekend. An avalanche on the east-side of Independence Pass Saturday killed two skiers Saturday. And, the state’s avalanche center says it hasn’t seen such large, destructive avalanches in 20 years. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen spoke with John Snook, a forecaster at the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

Courtesy CAIC

The Aspen area has a high rate of avalanche accidents. And this winter there’s a new avalanche forecaster to help bring those down. Blase Reardon is with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, and gave a talk last night. That was at the Limelight Hotel, and coordinated by the group Powder for the People. 

 

Editor's note: below is a transcript of reporter Elise Thatcher's story.

More details are available on what happened during the April 20th deadly avalanche on Loveland Pass. It was the worst accident of its kind in more than a half a century. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center released their final report on Wednesday April 24th. In it are some painful details--like the lone survivor waiting four hours to be dug out, and the slide being powerful enough to wreck car. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher talks with CAIC Executive Director Ethan Greene.

Photo by Dale Atkins/RECCO

This week is a tough one for many in Colorado’s backcountry community. Friends and family are getting used to the idea that five men died in an avalanche near Loveland Pass last weekend. Its the worst event of its kind in Colorado in a half a century.

Adam Schmidt is editor in Chief at Snowboard Colorado Magazine. He was good friends with one of the victims, Gypsum resident Joe Timlin. Schmidt got the call Saturday night that Joe was gone, killed in the avalanche.

“My first reaction was disbelief. Um. I was hoping it was a terrible joke.”