We are roughly midway through the latest avalanche season. So how is it going? “It's a bad avalanche season nationwide. In fact, in the last 10 days, we've had more recreational fatalities than ever before than in the hundred years of our database.” That was Simon Trotman, a national avalanche specialist with USDA's Forest Service. “And so between January 30th and February 8th, 16 people were killed in avalanches in seven states.” The overall number of avalanche deaths for this season so far is 22, which with months to go, is already approaching the national seasonal average of twenty eight. “The reason we're having all of these accidents, the primary reason is that the large scale weather pattern early in the season led to mainly drier conditions throughout the West or many parts of the West.” Drier snow makes an unstable foundation for heavier snow that is later dumped on top of it. “ The reason the Forest Service and the USDA are involved in avalanches and specifically avalanche forecasting and education is that in the United States, more than 90 percent of avalanche fatalities occur on public lands. And most of those lands are operated by the Forest Service or managed by the Forest Service. So within that number of fatalities, there's a couple interesting things to note. One is that avalanches in terms of natural hazards, avalanches end up killing or critically injuring more people than any other natural hazard.