Avalanche danger high this weekend

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KETCHUM, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) It’s the type of storm that makes you want to hit the slopes, but Sawtooth Avalanche Center said this weekend it’s too dangerous.

A forecaster for the center said the mountains received 12 to 16 inches of new snow Thursday night into Friday morning.

“Which is great for skiers but bad for avalanche stability,” said Ethan Davis, an avalanche forecaster with the center.

He described the snow conditions like a house of cards: delicate, and just one rider or skier could knock it down. Davis said that’s due to the stacking of snow conditions. The snow the area saw in December has a sugary texture. It sits underneath the stronger layer that was built in this last storm.

“That setup is causing widespread natural avalanches and we expect human-triggered avalanches to be very likely,” he said.

Because of that he said people wanting to ski, snowboard, snowmobile or do any other snow recreation should avoid the backcountry this weekend. He said that includes slopes greater than 30 degrees and the areas beneath them.

“You could be in the flats and still be in harm’s way if you have a steep slope that’s up above you,” he said.

Sun Valley Resort said ski patrollers are keeping an eye on the avalanche forecast the center put out, but they also have their own tools.

“Safety is our number one priority at Sun Valley Resort, so what we do is we constantly monitor the weather conditions up on the mountain,” said Kelli Lusk, a resort spokeswoman.

The avalanche center warns that even if there’s not new snow the rest of the weekend the avalanche conditions likely won’t improve.

The latest avalanche conditions are available here.

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