KUSA - It is mid-October and avalanche season is here. Experts say anyone going into the back country needs to be wary and prepared. The snow that has already fallen is ripe for avalanches and it could be setting up to be a dangerous season.
Snow has been falling in the high country since September. The problem is, experts say it hasn't been consistent. Avalanche experts, like Scott Toepfer with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, say when you get a big snow and then three days later there is more snow, the time in between causes the snow pack to weaken.
"That snow will become the foundation for the rest of the year to fall on. This snow as it sits on the ground now becomes very sugary and very weak, which could easily cause an avalanche. We've already seen about six small ones. Right now our thought process is saying that this could be a very, very dangerous year," Toepfer said.
For families like Sue Peters and Joy Timlin, the warnings of avalanche dangers are close to their hearts. Peters and Timlin lost their sons, Chris and Joe on April 20, along with three of their friends. They were snowboarding on Loveland Pass when an avalanche was triggered. The five men were prepared and experienced, but they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
"They were going snowboarding and on Sunday Chris said he was going to come home. He died. The conditions were just right for it. It just happened," Peters said.
On Sunday, the two families held a bowl-a-thon to raise money for a sign that will be displayed on the top of Loveland Pass as a way to remind people about avalanche danger. The sign will have the five names of the men who died and information on how to find the latest avalanche conditions.
"We would want people to take what happened to our sons and use it for their future. We don't know how many lives this will save, we just hope it saves lives," Timlin said.
Avalanche experts encourage anyone heading to the high country to check avalanche conditions and to always be prepared.
You can find more information on avalanches by going to www.colorado.gov/avalanche
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