Colorado is a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts, offering some of the best skiing and snowboarding opportunities in the country. However, along with the thrill of the mountains comes the risk of avalanches, which can be deadly. In the past decade, Colorado has seen a significant number of avalanche-related deaths, prompting calls for increased awareness and education around avalanche safety.
According to data from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC), there have been 78 avalanche-related fatalities in Colorado since the 2011-2012 winter season. The majority of these deaths occurred during the months of January, February, and March, which are typically the peak months for avalanches.
The 2012-2013 winter season was particularly deadly, with 11 avalanche-related deaths in Colorado. This was largely due to a series of powerful storms that hit the state, causing heavy snowfall and dangerous avalanche conditions. CAIC records show so far this 2022-2023 winter season, there has been 9 avalanche-related deaths in Colorado.
Over the past 10 years, the counties with the highest number of avalanche fatalities in Colorado have been Pitkin, Summit, and Eagle. These counties are home to popular ski resorts such as Aspen, Vail, and Breckenridge, and attract a large number of tourists during the winter months.
The CAIC has been working to improve avalanche safety in Colorado through education and outreach programs. They provide daily avalanche forecasts, as well as training courses and resources for backcountry travelers. In addition, ski resorts and backcountry outfitters are increasingly offering avalanche safety courses and equipment rentals to help visitors stay safe in the mountains.
Despite these efforts, the number of avalanche fatalities in Colorado remains a concern. Experts say that it is important for anyone venturing into the backcountry to be properly equipped and educated on avalanche safety, including carrying appropriate gear such as avalanche beacons, probes, and shovels, and knowing how to use them.