By Spencer Wilson

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – “Check the avalanche conditions.” Colorado Avalanche Information Center’s Director Ethan Greene warns backcountry riders after feet of new snow has piled up in the high country.

That’s fantastic news for people finally able to bust out their winter sport gear, but not without awareness of the danger that lies ahead.

(credit: Colorado Avalanche Information Center)

“A lot of snow in a really short amount of time is a really good recipe for avalanches,” Greene explained.

The warning comes with the CAIC’s first avalanche death of the season. The center reports a backcountry tourer was caught, buried, and killed in an avalanche near Cameron Pass on Christmas Eve. Another reminder of how dangerous things can get, and why people need to be prepared before they head out.

Luca Riley, a backcountry skier, was one of those people who came prepared. He told CBS4 Mountain Newsroom Reporter Spencer Wilson he checked the CAIC website before he headed out the door, so he knew what to expect.

“A little nervous, that was the biggest thing. We looked and saw a few problems especially with all of this recent snowfall. It has been kind of hard to see what the snow is going to be doing,” Riley said. “So we’ve just decided that we are going to play conservatively and stay on the main trail and not go onto any of the ridges or anything.”

At last check, almost all regions in the state of Colorado were at a 3/5, meaning there is considerable avalanche danger.

Spencer Wilson