If you had plans to go ski touring in Colorado this week, you might want to rethink them.
Avalanche danger in the state hit historic highs this week, following a run of heavy snow and strong winds in the high country. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center, a government- and nonprofit-run partnership that tracks the snowpack across the state, rated avalanche conditions in four of its ten regions as "Extreme," the first time it has done so since it began forecasting in 1973.
"Reports coming in from our highway forecasters traveling on roadways early this morning or doing mitigation work have stated: 'there isn't a piece of avalanche terrain that hasn't slid,'" the agency wrote in a post discussing conditions in the Vail and Summit County region.
Some avalanche paths in the state have been releasing at levels not seen in decades, the agency said. On Tuesday, an explosive-triggered slide near popular backcountry area Berthoud Pass covered US-40, the first time it has done so since 1957. Another avalanche on Thursday buried three cars near Copper Mountain. (All the passengers escaped safely.)
Six people have died in avalanches in Colorado this season; the most recent fatality occurred Sunday near Telluride, when a slide buried a backcountry skier near Lizard Head Pass.
Stay safe in the backcountry: Read the forecast and get educated before you hit the slopes.