It's a gift to be able to enjoy Colorado's mountains and backcountry, but you should always be aware that danger is just a moment away.

According to a report from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, a skier in the backcountry of Vail almost lost their life when they triggered an avalanche in the Gore Range.

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Pitkin Creek Colorado Avalanche

Fortunately for the skier, they were able to hold on to a nearby tree and were able to avoid being swept away by the avalanche.

"Consider the unlikely but very real consequences of an avalanche if you are taking advantage of the generally safe conditions to venture into steep terrain," states the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

Colorado Avalanche Information Center
Colorado Avalanche Information Center
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The CAIC reports that this is the first large backcountry avalanche triggered by a person since January 12th.

Just How Bad Was this Colorado Avalanche?

According to the CAIC this was a very large avalanche. The skier triggered an avalanche that, "ran just under 2000 feet downslope with a Crown 2 to 8 feet tall and a debris pile around 10 to 30 feet deep."

Colorado Avalanche Information Center
Colorado Avalanche Information Center
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The avalanche was so powerful that it destroyed dozens of small trees. A few large trees were also broken and even a few very large boulders were moved by the avalanche.

Avalanche Fatalities in Colorado and the U.S.

Some may believe that avalanches don't occur often and that avalanche fatalities are rare, but that's actually far from the truth.

Colorado Avalanche Information Center
Colorado Avalanche Information Center
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The CAIC writes:

"This avalanche also highlights why CAIC forecasters often hedge with "LOW does not mean NO". Slides are just infrequent."

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has already reported 3 deaths caused by avalanches in the 2021-2022 season alone. To drive the point home even further, the state of Colorado is responsible for one-third of all avalanche deaths.

To date this year, 8 people have died as a result of avalanches in the U.S.

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