A backcountry skier ascends in the Snodgrass Mountain trail area near Crested Butte on Jan. 26, 2019,, carrying avalanche gear and a rescue beacon. The area is beautiful, but also prone to big snow slides that can capture and kill skiers. (Dean Krakel, Special to The Colorado Sun)

A declining number of avalanche deaths in Colorado, the West in the past four seasons buoys hope

"We are seeing a success story. But the source of that success is very complicated," said Ethan Greene, director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center

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