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It's the US' deadliest avalanche season in years. Experts say Covid is partially to blame

February 28, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 19.5%. 1 min read.

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the US economy, health care system and schools.

"Like any structure, you don't want your weakest materials at the bottom, so when you build a snowpack structure with weaker layers under stronger layers, its the perfect condition to produce avalanches," he said.

Although more visitors is usually a good thing, this season's weak snowpack has made winter sports a lot more dangerous -- especially in the backcountry, where avalanches are common.

CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam echoed Birkeland's assessment, saying the weak snowpack combined with a higher rate of backcountry traffic has contributed to this season's spike in avalanche deaths.

But a lot of these people don't have experience in winter sports, aren't familiar with the terrain and lack avalanche rescue gear, said Craig Gordon, a forecaster for the Utah Avalanche Center.

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