A group of skiers caught on video a massive avalanche on Red Mountain Pass between Silverton and Ouray.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center said the avalanche was remotely triggered Sunday in the Commodore slide path, in the Red Mountain Pass area.
A remotely triggered avalanche is when a backcountry user sets off an avalanche from a distance. It was previously reported the group had intended to ski the area where the avalanche occurred, but updated information shows that was not the case.
“Avalanche conditions are not the same as years past,” the CAIC said. “Areas that you would travel most years may not be safe this year.”
The CAIC issued a “Special Avalanche Advisory” for the mountains of Colorado through Monday.
“Avalanche conditions are unusual,” the center said. “Backcountry travelers can trigger avalanches that may break very wide and run the full length of the avalanche path. Your normal routes and safety habits may not keep you out of a dangerous avalanche. Backcountry travelers need to take extra precautions.”
Over the weekend, a storm dropped 15 to 24 inches of new snow with very little wind, and there is plenty of snow available for potential slides, CAIC said.
“Natural avalanches and triggering avalanches from a distance is possible,” the center said. “Terrain about 35 degrees and steeper on all aspects at all elevations are likely areas to trigger large avalanches today.”
The general area where the group of skiers remotely triggered the avalanche has been a particularly dangerous region this winter.
On Dec. 19, two backcountry skiers were caught and killed in a slide near Ophir Pass. Then, on Feb. 1, four skiers were caught in a slide and three died, also near Ophir Pass.
[email protected]This story has been updated with more current information showing the group did not intend to ski the area where the avalanche occurred, and that the slide was triggered from a distance by the group.