VAIL, Colo. (CBS4) – Snow piling up in the high country has raised avalanche concerns and prompted the Colorado Avalanche Information Center to work on getting out more information.
A skier recently shot video of his friend being covered in snow with only his face exposed.
“He was injured, it sounded like he had a knee injury. So it took them a while to get him out,” said the skier.
Video like that isn’t what the CAIC wants to see, but is often sent.
“We try and document every human interaction that we can. They sent us a report and a video and a really nice explanation of what happened,” said CAIC Executive Director Dr. Ethan Green.
This latest incident near Vail is proof of how dangerous conditions are in the backcountry.
“We have a mix between moderate and considerable avalanche conditions right now,” said Green.
Recently the CAIC unveiled a new website — colorado.gov/avalanche.
It’s a new, clean and organized layout of conditions throughout the state.
“What we’re trying to do is update how we communicate with the public. Instead of providing one product we’re trying to provide layers of information,” said Green.
Forecasts are now laid out with a two day outlook, and there are separate forecasts for different elevations on the mountains.
“In this particular situation we’re talking about slabs that are built by wind. We’ve got some stock information where you can find that inside the terrain,” said Green.
The website is now trying to focus more on media to get the message and forecasts across.
“Even just pictures you can show people what we’re talking about, that really helps,” said Green.
All this information will hopefully save lives, and keep people out of dangerous slides.
“We really want to make a good user experience for people and provide the best information we can about avalanche conditions in Colorado,” said Green.
The CAIC collaborated with a number of other avalanche organizations in North America and around the world. They are hoping basic information like descriptions of different types of avalanches will become the norm, and make it easier for everyone to understand the snow conditions in the mountains.