The CAIC staff investigate fatal avalanches in Colorado. CAIC forecasters post preliminary information within 24 hours. Once they visit the site and speak to the people involved, they publish a final Accident Report. Final Reports may take a week or more to compile, check, and publish.
The CAIC also collects information on close calls. If you trigger an avalanche, please submit an observation, email, or call the CAIC.
The CAIC is the central archive for avalanche accidents in the United States and maintains detailed records going back to 1950, and sparse records back to the 1860s. The CAIC online database contains avalanche accident reports in the United States since 2006. You can find reports from 1998-99 to the present at Avalanche.org. The CAIC uses the archived data to produce annual statistical graphs, available below, and aid researchers.
Avalanche Accident Statistics
Over the last 10 winters an average of 28 people died in avalanches every year in the United States. Almost every fatal accident is investigated and reported, so the CAIC can present fatality data with some certainty. There is no way to determine the number of people caught or buried in avalanches each year, because most non-fatal avalanche incidents are not reported.
The data used to construct the following graphs is from the CAIC Accident Database. The Database began with the Westwide Data Network in the 1970s. Through the efforts of Dale Atkins, Knox Williams, Betsy Armstrong and others, the Database contains records for over 990 fatalities.
The following graphs can be used for avalanche education and awareness purposes. The interactive graphs can be “Exported” to an image file. For the static graphs, click to view larger, right-click to download. You can download an Excel file with the data: Accidents_2014_Public. Please cite the CAIC.
The graphic below is interactive. Roll over the bars and map for more details, and filter the data by Avalanche Year, State, and Primary Activity. To save a filtered graphic, click the “Export” in the bottom middle select Image or PDF.