A-Basin reopens after avalanche danger forces closure

Photo: A-Basin
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SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) - A-Basin is back open Saturday after avalanche danger forced a two-day closure.

The resort made the decision to close Thursday after the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) increased the danger rating in the state's high country to "extreme." Following two days of avalanche mitigation on the slopes and nearby Highway 6, the resort declared itself back open for business Saturday.

March has seen northward of 300 avalanches since the 1st -- and not all have been in the backcountry. Slides Thursday included an avalanche on I-70 along Vail Pass during the early morning hours, and an avalanche outside of Copper Mountain on Highway 91, which buried four cars. An inbounds avalanche was reported at Breckenridge Friday.

According to data from the CAIC, 37 of Colorado's avalanches were classified as "destructive" and another four were classified as "historic," which means they are capable of destroying "substantial amounts of forest or buildings.”

When announcing its closure Thursday, A-Basin said the news wasn't all bad:

"For those of you jonesing to go skiing, it is as good as you can possibly imagine. Be patient on the highway and avalanche issues. It can get deeper, but conditions are as incredible as you could ever want," said Chief Operating Officer Alan Henceroth on A-Basin's official blog.

A spokesperson for the Summit County Rescue Group told paper Vail Daily that while conditions at ski resorts aren't entirely risk-free, they are much safer than being in the backcountry at this time.

Ski patrol does a "superb job" controlling avalanches inbound, the spokesperson said.

He advised anyone planning to hit the slopes to carry an avalanche beacon, even at resorts, just in case.