Officials warn of avalanche danger after heavy snowfall

<p><p>SEATTLE — A powerful weekend storm that dumped several feet of snow in the Cascade mountains has prompted concern for officials at the Northwest Avalanche Center.</p></p><p><p>“We saw several feet of snow fall over pretty much the entire range,” said Dennis D’Amico, the center’s forecast director.</p></p><p><p>Six skiers traveling in a closed area at Crystal Mountain ski resort Saturday triggered an avalanche and were trapped, resort officials said. Five of the skiers climbed out but a 66-year-old man was not breathing when pulled from the snow. He died at the scene.</p></p><p><p>“This is a known area where avalanches occur and it’s also an area where folks can travel safely at other times of the year,” D’Amico told KOMO-TV.</p></p><p><p>Officials with Alterra Mountain Company, the ownership group for Crystal Mountain, said it was the first time in the four years since they have owned the resort that a person was killed during an avalanche.</p></p><p><p>The incident has sparked concerns about the rest of the Cascades, considering the mountain range is essentially all under “considerable avalanche danger,” officials said.</p></p><p><p>“Considerable literally means dangerous avalanche conditions exist,” D’Amico said. Forecasters plan to survey the site and interview the survivors to understand what happened. “We’re going to figure out whether it’s a human triggered or natural avalanche.”</p></p>