DENVER
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Avalanche Concerns Have Ski Resorts Taking Extra Precautions

TELLURIDE--The thunderous blast from a World War II-era howitzer vibrates across the valley below this ski area's iconic Palmyra Peak.

Three seconds later, as the sun illuminates Palmyra's serrated turrets, a plume of black smoke belches from the middle of a steep snowfield. A billowing wash of snow engulfs the peak's nearly sheer "Nice Chute."

"Nice shot!" says Craig Sterbenz, Telluride ski area's director of snow safety, as ear-muffled ski patrollers slap high-fives behind their refurbished Army green cannon.

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