It’s been a record breaking winter at Berthoud Pass. Snow totals are big, but so are the avalanches associated with them. A massive 1,500-foot slide this week near Keystone took out an electrical tower and several skiers around the state have had close calls recently. Below are some spring snow safety tips from the CAIC. Be safe and enjoy the awesome amounts of snow out there.
Here is a quick review of spring snow safety. The goal is to ride on silky or creamy snow during the initial softening and melting. Then you need to get off and out from under steep slopes before too much water accumulates and weakens the snow surface. Boot penetration is a good gauge. Stand on the snow (no snowshoes, boards, or skis). If you sink into wet snow past your ankles, or pop through the surface crust into wet or weak snow underneath, the surface is too weak. Move to low angle terrain, a shadier aspect, or call it a day. Think about your exit route, and be aware of low elevation terrain traps.