Avalanche risk 'considerable' at high elevations

Dec 3, 2012

The Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center has raised the risk of avalanches to “considerable” for areas above 9,000 feet.

The Center’s Mike Rheam says that means naturally occurring avalanches are possible, and human-triggered avalanches are likely. Rheam says there’s a two-foot slab of new snow at high elevations in western Wyoming, which could give way easily.

“The snow is stable enough to hold itself on a slope,” Rheam said. “But when you put the addition of a snowmobile, which could be well over 500 pounds, or even a skier at 150 pounds, it’s enough to cause that slab to fail: whatever’s holding it up breaks, and the slab itself moves down the slope.”

Rheam says people should use caution in areas with deep snow, especially on steep slopes and in places where there has been recent avalanche activity nearby.