The detection of geologically recent channels and gullies on Mars has been interpreted as evidence for recent water activity on this arid and cold planet. The presence of active water would have considerable implications for the history of Mars and for the potential for an active near-surface biota; however, water is not the only substance that can flow and may actually be one of the least likely candidates when the modern permafrost environment is considered. Here, a key site of recent gully and channel development on Mars is reported at 71°S in Sisyphi Cavi, within the annual zone of polar CO2 ice and snow accumulation. Superposition of channel features over and/or through the defrosting CO2 snowpack shows that the channels are active at the present day and probably have fluid flows every spring during the annual defrosting. In itself, this is a significant observation as active fluid flows of any nature have not yet been proven on Mars. However, the ambient temperature at the time of gully activity appears to require a role for CO2 in the formation of the channels, rather than water. A model is proposed for gas-lubricated flow in the channels based on avalanching of CO2 snowpack and clastic debris. If similar mechanisms are responsible for all the recent gullies on Mars, then perhaps no near-surface astrobiological targets are available.