Porkchop's right in describing a typical Colorado snowpack and the mechanisms that makes it so dangerous. The CAIC description in the article Tindel linked says a lot too. One thing a lot of folks forget is that the snowpack is dynamic and changes not only from day to day but from hour to hour, and even by the minute. For example, even if someone tracked a slope in the morning, later in the day warmer temperatures can cause melting at the surface resulting in percolation of water to weaker layers which primes them to fail. Even without percolation, slight warming can weaken the icy bonds between grains of snow and weaken the snowpack.
Originally Posted by Tindel
I've always been told Loveland Pass is 'safe' for the newbie backcountry boarder to earn some turns without avy gear.
This is total BS - avalanches have killed skiers/boarders on Loveland Pass for decades that I can remember. Any slope that's steep enough to be challenging, deep enough to ski, and long enough to get more than a couple of turns on is steep enough, deep enough, and big enough to kill you. And if trees are spaced enough to ride through, the snow can avalanche. Yes, there are always exceptions to this depending on conditions and terrain, but it's still something a lot of folks don't consider or choose to ignore.
My heart aches for these boarders' community.
No turns are worth your life.