HAILEY, Idaho (KLIX) – The avalanche danger has been elevated in the upper Sawtooth Mountains.

Several days of snowfall and wind have created dangerous conditions in the upper elevations, where large, natural avalanches are likely to occur, according to the Sawtooth Avalanche Center on Tuesday morning.

“Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommend,” the advisory reads, noting that nearly two feet of snow has fallen over the past couple of days. Slopes exposed to wind are most dangerous, but the center cautions that 2- to 6-foot human-triggered slides could also happen even in sheltered terrain.

A skier triggered a slab avalanche on a wind-loaded, north-facing slope on Titus Ridge on Sunday near Galena Summit. The slide carried the skier a short distance and continued down the slope to knock over the skier’s partner as they fled the debris.

The avalanche center cautions,

“Aim to avoid travel on or under wind-loaded terrain. You can often identify wind-affected terrain from a distance by looking for clues like mid-slope 'dunes' or cornices near ridges. Fresh wind slab formation will also add substantial weight to the weak layers of snow buried deeper in the snowpack increasing the likelihood of triggering a larger persistent slab avalanche."

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