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Published February 25, 2012, 01:43 PM

Avalanche danger at a high this season

DENVER (AP) — Business is lagging this year at the Boulder Outdoor Center, where adventurers come to book and buy equipment for ski trips into the backcountry.

DENVER (AP) — Business is lagging this year at the Boulder Outdoor Center, where adventurers come to book and buy equipment for ski trips into the backcountry.

Except, that is, in one area. The outfitter's avalanche training courses keep selling out.

An influx of new daredevils combined with an historically dangerous season in the high country have played into this strange mix at the Colorado shop and around the West, where 17 people have been killed by avalanches so far this season.

Early-season snow followed by several weeks of dry weather in the mountains created a grainy, unstable base of snow. Heavy snowfall later in the winter, accompanied by strong winds that piled the snow onto downwind-facing slopes, has created the ultimate recipe for avalanche conditions.

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