TELLURIDE, COLO. — Downtown Telluride, Colorado was packed Thursday with people watching an avalanche on Ajax Peak.
The Telluride area received over 10 inches of snow earlier this week. In mountainous areas like Colorado, recent snowfall can lead to the risk of avalanches, which are most common during the first 24 hours after a snowstorm.
The Colorado Department of Transportation monitors nearly 522 known avalanche paths across the state, including the Ajax Peak area.
On Thursday, a helicopter dropped bombs onto the side of the peak, creating a massive tumble of snow.
In avalanches, snow can travel up to 80 miles per hour and lead to more than 150 fatalities worldwide each year.
When an avalanche occurs, snow quickly piles up and can overload the underlying snow pack, which causes a weaker layer beneath the slab to fracture.
Controlled avalanches, like that at Ajax Peak, is done to help alleviate the stress on the snow pack in hopes of preventing a natural avalanche.
Cox Media Group