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Backcountry Skier Triggers Avalanche Onto Highway


Active member
Nov 7, 2012
CS, Colorado
Avalanche dangers are heavily reported in Colorado. There seems to be a lot of focus here on awareness and training. Everyday that we drive I-70, we notice lots of tracks where skiers or snowboarders have created their own lines and there are lots of them. Kudos to them to make the trek for virgin lines/snow. I know I do not have the energy, capacity or even the desire to do that and the fear of avalanche danger is too high for me.

However, with that there have been several incidents that have resulted in fatalities this season already and then there are other stories like the one in the title that you do not hear about often. Two skiers trying to find an exit from a BC run and trigger an avalanche and one falls 25 ft and onto the Highway 550. Luckily he survived. Now Avalanches onto highways are not unique - there have been several in the Rockies from Canada to New Mexico. In fact, US Highway #550, which follows an historic wagon road, linking Farmington, New Mexico and Durango, Colorado with the Montrose/Delta/Grand Junction region to the north. Three Passes (Coal Bank, Molas, and Red Mountain) are traversed by about 400 vehicles/day during the winter, passing under or across 101 identified avalanche paths. Sounds like a nice drive!


This intrigued me to understand more about avalanche activity and then came across this - so far this season there have 6 reported fatalities related to backcountry activity and avalanches. There are more but those where people survive often go unreported. While I considered BC back East it has been erased from my desires here.



Disclaimer: I posted this in the Other Outdoor Sports Forum as to not stir up the apple cart in the Northeast Skiing and Snowboarding Forum. Would be nice to have and Other Skiing and Snowboarding Forum for stuff around the world that might be interesting. Just a thought!


New member
Feb 17, 2004
Bangor and the state's woodlands
Yeah, one definitely has to read any/all reports before enjoying the backcountry out there! The steeper pitches out there possess the long stretches of deep snowcover previously fallen = incredibly beautiful terrain but serious piling on problems once snow starts sliding....