In high country, avalanches an ever-present hazard

In high country, avalanches an ever-present hazard

Monitoring, mitigation, training strive to minimize the threat

In high country, avalanches an ever-present hazard

Ann Mellick, an avalanche forecaster with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, instructs Colorado Department of Transportation employees on the use of probes during an avalanche training session on top of Red Mountain Pass. Searchers stand elbow to elbow, stab their probe into the snow, take a step forward and repeat the maneuver.
Norman Parra, left, and Dan Smith, both with the Colorado Department of Transportation, prepare to use probes after locating an avalanche beacon in a backpack buried in the snow during an avalanche training session on top of Red Mountain Pass. Instructor Ann Mellick of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center said the training builds confidence to respond to emergencies.
Dan Smith, snowplow driver with the Colorado Department of Transportation, switches his avalanche beacon to search mode as he looks for a beacon buried in the snow. Glen Marquez performs the same maneuver a few yards away. Highway crew members don’t often join searches, but the training gives them added value.
Avalanche facts

The Colorado Avalanche Atlas shows the location of more than 500 avalanche paths that threaten highways in the state.

Authorities monitor and modify the threat of 278 of them.

In the 2011-12 winter, the Colorado Department of

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