GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — The Colorado Avalanche Information Center put out a tier 4 warning on Wednesday for most of the western slope, and they told KREX that warning will be back for the weekend.

“You know we’re entering a pretty dangerous period,” said Deputy Director at CIAC Brian Lazar. The western slopes are packed with families enjoying their winter break in Colorado’s great outdoors but, “Mother Nature doesn’t really care if it’s your vacation time or not,” Lazar said.

Lazar told KREX these dangerous avalanche conditions are formed by a combination of two factors:

  • Snowpack conditions
  • Upcoming weather

For those unaware snowpack is the seasonal accumulation of snow on the ground and as it snows more and more that snow stacks in layers. “Right now we’ve got weak layers in our snowpack,” Lazar said, and when you combine that with the upcoming heavy snow it’s essentially like stacking up more bricks on a broken wall.

“When we see snowfall uptick we’re stressing those buried weak layers so they become easier for people to trigger,” Lazar told KREX.

Both those factors show why most western colorado is in high danger of an avalanche and why you need to be careful when doing winter activities in the backcountry on unkept slopes. But even if you’re going to a ski resort, you should still be cautious when traveling. “If there is an avalanche warning in place we recommend you do not travel in or under avalanche terrain which is really any snow-covered slope steeper than about 30 degrees,” said Lazar.

You can see the avalanche report here and the road report here.

Stay safe out there Western Slope!