Splitboarder Narrowly Avoids Wet Avalanche in Colorado

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As snowstorms cease and warmer weather arrives in mountainous regions it's tempting to imagine that the danger posed by avalanches is gone. While it's true that one is far less likely to trigger a storm slab in June, it's not true that spring skiing is a universally avalanche-free pastime.

RELATED: Winter Might Be Over, But Avalanches Are Still a Danger in Colorado

The American Avalanche Association's description of wet avalanche draws a firm distinction between dry and wet slides:

"Wet avalanches usually occur when warm air temperatures, sun or rain cause water to percolate through the snowpack and decrease the strength of the snow, or in some cases, change the mechanical properties of the snow. Once initiated, wet snow tends to travel much more slowly than dry snow avalanches–like a thousand concrete trucks dumping their load at once instead of the hovercraft-like movement of a dry avalanche. A typical wet avalanche travels around 15 to 30 km/hr (10 or 20 mph) while a typical dry snow avalanche travels 100 to130 km/hr (60 or 80 mph)–big difference. Wet slides are also harder for a person to trigger than a dry slide."

It might be harder for humans to trigger wet slides, but this splitboarder managed it while riding near Longs Peak, CO—we're glad he managed to stay clear.

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