Just over the past two weeks, 10 people have died in avalanches in the western states. Avalanche safety coordinator Alex Dunn says investigations performed last Thursday show the same threat exists in many of Montana’s mountain ranges.

"We've got a really weak, sugary layer of snow sitting right on the ground, then you've got the rest of the winter's snow pack sitting right on top of it. That combination, with the weak layer deep in the snow pack, and a denser slab on top, is just a basic recipe for slab avalanches."

Missoula has an avalanche warning center, available at missoulaavalanche.org, but not all areas of the state are as lucky. According to Dunn, travelers to areas such as the Beaverhead-Deerlodge national forest need to be extra cautious when venturing in the back country this time of year.

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