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Dangerous avalanche conditions expected in Colorado over coming days

Colorado Avalanche Information Center

(NEW YORK) — Dangerous avalanche conditions are expected through the weekend in Colorado, experts warned, as the state has reported several deadly avalanches so far this season.

“We have seen more avalanches this year than we do during a typical year, and recently they’ve gotten much bigger,” Ethan Greene, director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, said in a statement Thursday. “We want everyone to enjoy the wonderful public lands in Colorado, and go home alive and well to their family and friends on Monday.”

Early-season snowfall, followed by heavy snow in early December and early January, has created dangerous avalanche conditions, the center said. New snowfall this week and more in the forecast over the weekend adds to the continued threat, it said.

“We are on the cusp of a potentially very dangerous weekend. Dangerous avalanche conditions falling over a holiday weekend is a recipe for potential accidents,” the center warned.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has reported more than 870 avalanches since Dec. 26, three of which have been deadly.

On Dec. 26, a father and his three teenage sons got caught in an avalanche while skiing and snowboarding in an area known as the Nitro Chute, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center said. The 44-year-old father was fully buried and died despite life-saving measures, the center said.

On Dec. 31, a father and his adult son were skiing in the backcountry outside of the Breckenridge ski area got caught in an avalanche. The son was fully buried and found dead about two hours after the avalanche occurred, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

Most recently, two snowmobile riders were buried and killed in an avalanche on Mount Epworth on Saturday, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

“We need everyone headed into the backcountry to plan their trip carefully and make sure they avoid avalanche hazards,” Greene said. “We need to stop this deadly trend.”

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center advises checking the avalanche forecast before going into the backcountry and ensuring that everyone carries and knows how to use an avalanche-rescue transceiver, probe pole and shovel. Low-angle terrain without steep slopes overhead is also advised due to the high avalanche potential.

ABC News’ Jeffrey Cook contributed to this report.

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