This Year's Avalanche Deaths

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Colorado and Alaska usually lead the nation in avalanche deaths, but so far this winter, 8 of the 13 avalanche deaths have been in Washington State.

Utah has had three, and Colorado and Wyoming have each had one.

Experts say years of predictable weather in the northwest have given people who ski, snowboard or snowmobile a dangerous sense of overconfidence.

Snow in Washington usually falls wet and heavy, making a solid snow pack.

This winter however, the snow pack there is 30 to 60 percent above normal and forming in layers, which can break away on a slope.

The Forest Service National Avalanche Center in Ketchum, Idaho says Washington normally has two or three of the approximately 25 avalanche deaths a year.