By Chris Spears

DENVER (CBS4) – The Colorado Avalanche Information Center is asking people to use extreme caution when venturing into Colorado’s backcountry over the Christmas holiday. Despite having a below normal snowpack conditions are described as being unusually dangerous around the state. In the last week, 380 avalanches have been reported around the state.

“Since Friday three Coloradans lost their lives in avalanche accidents, and 132 avalanches were reported. One hundred and eight avalanches were triggered by people in the last week” said Ethan Greene, Director, Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

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A flank of the avalanche. (credit: Crested Butte Avalanche Center)

Greene says we’re not seeing the landscape-changing events like we saw during March of 2019, but stresses the current snowpack is the weakest we’ve seen since 2012. As more snow falls in the upcoming weeks avalanches could become more dangerous. The current conditions require additional caution.

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You can get the latest avalanche forecast before heading into the backcountry by clicking here. You can also download the Friends of CAIC’s mobile app.

(credit: Colorado Avalanche Information Center/Facebook)

Steep slopes where the snow supports your weight are dangerous. Avalanches are easy to trigger and they can break wider than you expect. An avalanche can also be triggered from low-angle terrain, below or to the side of a steep slope.

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The CAIC says if you are unsure about the conditions then you should stay on slopes less than 30 degrees steep that aren’t connected to steeper terrain.

Chris Spears