Most of the Colorado backcountry remains under a "considerable" avalanche rating Sunday, after a series of slides Saturday threatened skiers and led to a fatality in San Juan County.

Above-average temperatures and a weak base under newer, heavier snow is raising the risks, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center in Boulder.

"The current snowpack across Colorado is in a delicate state of balance," the center stated on its forecast Sunday. "Before the last storm cycle moved across the state the base layers of the snow were exceptionally weak. The new snow during the storm came in with significant wind and a high water content, meaning the new snow was heavy, and developed quickly into dangerous slabs.

"It is taking little additional stress to trigger large, deep and dangerous avalanches."


A 23-year-old Durango man, Peter James Carver, was killed near Gladstone in San Juan County as he and two companions skied in the backcountry outside of the Silverton Mountain area. Slides that threatened skiers also were reported Saturday on Berthoud Pass in Summit County and Cameron Pass in Larimer County.

Conditions aren't expected to change anytime soon, so the center is urging those who travel in the Colorado backcountry to use caution.

Temperatures in Western Colorado ranged from the mid-30s to mid-40s Sunday, according to the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

The high country should see temperatures above freezing all week.

Denver could see daily highs in the 50s up to a 60 degrees by midweek, forecasters said.Temperatures are expected to cool off into the more seasonable 30s next weekend with a slight chance of snow Saturday night and Sunday.

The high in Denver on Sunday was 55 degrees, about 10 degrees warmer than normal, according to the National Weather Service records.

Joey Bunch: 303-954-1174, or