Colorado Goes To War With Avalanches With Actual Artillery

In the mountains, snow is serious business.

Snow-crowned peaks make the Colorado Rockies one of America’s most gorgeous destinations. But all that icy splendor can be deadly, too. And when it looks like the mountainsides can no longer hold all their snow and an avalanche might ensue, the Colorado Dept. of Transportation (CDOT) breaks out the big guns. Actual guns—World War II-era, Army-issued 105 millimeter howitzers.

As John Palmer of the CDOT told KOB-TV, the 40-lb missiles fired by the howitzers are used in the name of keeping travelers in high mountain passes safe from descending white tsunamis of snow:

“If we keep these paths knocked down as best we can with explosives, that means it’s less likely to come down in huge slab avalanches, which is one of the worst types,” said Palmer.   

Remarkably, KOB reported the howitzer treatment is one of the most economical, as well. 

Watch the full report on video below. It’s nice to see weapons of war put to such good use. Plus, in this context they’re pretty damned cool.

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h/t KOB