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Experts: Type of avalanche that killed 5 in Colo. Saturday is among most difficult to predict

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    LOVELAND PASS, CO- APRIL 21, 2013: Scott Toepfer, right, a member of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center or CAIC, takes depth measurements every 50 feet at the crown of the avalanche on Sunday April 21, 2013. In the back round are Brian Lazar and John Snook walk along the crown to find an area to dig a snow pit to investigate the layers of snow where the avalanche broke off. The avalanche occurred in an area known as Sheep Creek near Loveland Pass on Saturday, April 20, 2013, killing 5 snowboarders. (AP Photo/The Denver Post,Helen H. Richardson) MAGS OUT; TV OUT; INTERNET OUT; NO SALES (The Associated Press)

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    Snow falls near the spot where five members of a backcountry snowboarder group were found dead after they were trapped by an avalanche on Loveland Pass, Colo., Saturday, April 20, 2013. According to officials from the Clear Creek County Sheriff's Office, the five were killed on the high mountain pass in Colorado's White River National Forest earlier in the day. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) (The Associated Press)

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    Snow falls near the spot where five members of a backcountry snowboarder group were found dead after they were trapped by an avalanche on Loveland Pass, Colo. Saturday, April 20, 2013. According to officials from the Clear Creek County Sheriff's Office, the five were killed on the high mountain pass in Colorado's White River National Forest earlier in the day. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) (The Associated Press)

The kind of avalanche that killed four snowboarders and a skier in Colorado over the weekend is among the most difficult to predict and trigger, but it's dangerous because of the amount of snow normally involved.

Saturday's slide near Loveland Pass is called a deep persistent slab avalanche, and backcountry snowboarders and skiers in the area were warned about that kind of avalanche that day.

It's also the same type of avalanche that killed a snowboarder Thursday near Vail Pass.

Ethan Greene of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center said Monday that the danger level Saturday was rated as a 3 on the center's 5-level warning scale.

Typically, avalanches aren't as common in the spring, but new snow in Colorado's mountains have created avalanche conditions more like those usually seen in the winter.