Snow loading created by early season sporadic snow fall is behind the extreme avalanche danger in Wyoming’s western mountain ranges.

Another death Monday, this time of a snow-mobiler, underscores the risks.

Grand Teton National Park Spokesperson Jackie Skaggs says an early season snow pack followed by many weeks of little snow has set the stage.

“There was a period when the snow that was left exposed kind of dries out. The crystals change and it forms, when you get new snow pack on top of that, it forms this weak layer.”

That layer is then ready to give way when more snow falls or it’s disturbed in some way. Skaggs says throughout the Rockies right now this the situation.

She says it’s vital for anyone going into the backcountry to check the avalanche reports either on line at Bridger Teton Avalanche Hazard Forecast or by phone at 307-733-2664.