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Our deadly white powder

Brief by Central Staff

Avalanches – December 2001 – Colorado Central Magazine

Since Central Colorado is cow country, anthrax isn’t exactly a novelty. But the deadly white powder in the mountains doesn’t usually come in envelopes.

Instead, it falls from the sky as snow — that can accumulate and then slide in a suffocating avalanche. “Homeland security” here takes the form of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, which is in its 19th year of public education and forecasting.

For the citizens’ protection, CAIC has produced two publications: The Snowy Torrents and Avalanche Wise: Your Guide to Avalanche Safety in Colorado.

The Center also issues detailed forecasts, available over the phone. It should come as no surprise that all the numbers are long-distance from Central Colorado. The numbers are 303-275-5360 in Denver, 970-482-0457 in Fort Collins, 719-520-0020 in Colorado Springs, 970-668-0600 in Summit County and Vail, 970-920-1664 in Aspen, and 970-247-8187 in Durango.

Fortunately, the information is also available on the World Wide Web at

As we went to press, the fall had been so dry that forest fires were a bigger concern than snowslides (the Park County sheriff banned all outdoor fires on Nov. 5), but that’s likely to change.