Regional Conditions for Northern Gallatin

as of 5:00 am
Today0" | 10-20 W-SW
Feb 21 0" | 20-35 SW
Feb 20 0" | 15-25 W
9980′     02/22 at 22:00
0.6℉
SW - 15mph
Gusts 21mph
8100′   02/22 at 22:00
9℉
77″ Depth
Bottom Line: Dense wind slabs that formed over the past few days remain a concern. These thick, cohesive slabs rest over lower density snow, which is creating an unstable structure. Wind slabs could fail under the weight of a skier or rider and pose the most significant threat in steep-high consequence terrain.

Past 5 Days

Sun Feb 18

Considerable
Mon Feb 19

Moderate
Tue Feb 20

Moderate
Wed Feb 21

Moderate
Today

Moderate

Photos- Northern Gallatin

  • Skiers up Mt Blackmore triggered small wind slabs near the ridgelines. These slides were small, but could produce high consequences if triggered in steep terrain. Photo: C. Ronemus 

  • This picture was taken on Monday, February 19, at Lionhead on an east-facing slope. The wind slab was likely triggered by a cornice chunk hitting the slope. Photo: T. Johnson

  • Cornices have grown very large and are severely overhung. They sometimes break much further back than anticipated and can take you for a nasty, sometimes fatal ride. Plus they are excellent at triggering avalanches in the wind pillows below them. This photo was taken on the ridge north of Bridger Bowl. Photo: GNFAC

  • A skier observed large cornices north of the Bridger Bowl boundary, despite the east wind several days ago eroding some snow at higher elevations. Always give these beasts a wide berth, and remember that they can break farther back than expected. Photo: H. Coppolillo

  • Cornices break easily and have killed many unsuspecting people. They fool us into thinking we are on solid ground when, in fact, we are standing on a thick diving board of snow. Give cornices a wide berth.

  • Skiers up Hyalite triggered this cornice on Mt. Bole as they traversed along the ridgeline. The cornice triggered a small slab avalanche that took out the skiers skin track. Cornices are under a lot of stress from this week's snow and wind and should be given a wide distance along ridges. Photo GNFAC 

  • A skier in Hyalite observed this avalanche in the meadow below Mt. Blackmore. Strong wind over the weekend drifted snow into wind slabs at all elevations. Photo: J. Stewart

  • Cornices are extra large with all the generous snow we've had this season. These monsters and wind loaded slopes are the main avalanche concerns to start the week. On Buck Ridge today, we found 16" of new snow from the weekend's storm. We didn't see any avalanches or glaring signs of instability, and the snowpack is generally stable besides new snow and fresh wind slabs. Photo: GNFAC

  • A skier in Hyalite observed these dry loose avalanches in steep terrain yesterday. Although not as dangerous as slab avalanches, sluffs can catch and carry skiers or riders into rocks or trees. Sluffs can also act as triggers for larger slab avalanches. Photo B. Vandenbos

  • Doug stands in the a snowpit on a NE facing slope at 7,770 ft. on Mt Ellis. The snowpack is roughly 5' deep with no discernable weak layers. This is one of the best snowpacks we've seen on Mt Ellis in years. Photo: GNFAC 

  • Cornices are large and can easily be triggered from the right spot along ridgelines above. Photo: G. Antonioli

  • A skier triggered this small soft slab on Saturday (2/10) around 1:30pm. It was 8-10" deep. No one was caught.

  • A skier triggered a large cornice from the ridge above the Hourglass chute north of Bridger Bowl on 2/9. It entrained recent snow and ran into flat terrain across a common skin track. No one was caught. Photo: M. Feduschak

  • A skier triggered a large (7'x25') cornice from the ridge above the Hourglass chute north of Bridger Bowl on 2/9. They were skiing along the ridgeline, 10-15' back from the edge when a large chunk broke off nearby. It entrained recent snow and ran over 1,000' into flat terrain across a common skin track, and broke trees up to 8" diameter. No one was caught.

  • A skier triggered a large cornice from the ridge above the Hourglass chute north of Bridger Bowl on 2/9. It entrained recent snow and ran into flat terrain across a common skin track. No one was caught. Photo: P. Puettmann

  • These small natural slides occurred on heavily wind loaded slopes up the Maid of the Mist drainage in Hyalite. A few inches of new snow and strong westerly winds are making wind slabs the primary avalanche concern. Photo: P. Honsinger 

  • Eric Knoff and Doug Chabot talk about how steep a slope you need to dig a pit on to get good data. The answer is, "Not that steep".

  • On February 4th (Sun) skiers found shallow wind slabs on northerly aspects heading up to the Blackmore/Elephant saddle in hasty tests. They observed ECTP18 failure of a wind slab at ~25cm depth in the NE bowl of Alex Lowe Peak and observed recent slide activity in and below Hellmouth couloir. It appeared a small pocket had ripped out of the couloir and a larger slab had triggered in the apron below. Photo: C. Ronemus
  • Check out this blog post by Evelyn Lees at the Utah Avalanche Center on “Avalanche Fatalities During Uphill Travel.” One third of tourers die on the ascent, a surprisingly high statistic. Photo: C. Pruden

  • Wind moving snow across the Bridger Range yesterday afternoon. Photo: C. Hagedorn

  • It feels good to be living in the snowy "Haves" vs. "Have not" group. Look at the blue squares clustered in southwest Montana. We have over 125% of average snow water content and Cooke City has over 150%! Whoop, whoop.

  • Sledders triggered a  small  12" x 12' wide wind slab and also some cracking in the 3rd Yellowmule on Buck Ridge. Small slides at low elevation are warnings that bigger slides are possible higher up. Photo: K&B Crisman

  • A skier triggered and was carried in this wind slab on The Throne in the northern Bridgers on Sunday (1/21). P. Cronin

  • A layer of surface hoar was buried by the recent snowfall (1/19) at Lionhead. This layer was observed through most of our advisory area prior to this storm, and should be searched for by digging 1-2' deep before riding in avalanche terrain. Photo: GNFAC

  • Large natural avalanche on NE aspect of Divide Peak in Hyalite. The slope is likely wind-loaded and the slide appears to have been triggered by snow falling off the rocks. Photo: G. Antonioli

  • This wind slab was remotely triggered by skiers in the northern Bridger Range near Fairy Lake. Photo: M. Taylor

  • This photo was taken yesterday and the wind slabs likely released after the storm ended on Saturday. This is the cirque behind Maid of the Mist up Hyalite. Photo: Pyper Dixon

  • More snow = more avalanches. Graphic is snowpack change in inches of water since 10/1/17. The storm that ended Saturday is the steep increase at the end of each line. Large avalanches were triggered during and after that storm and remain possible for a few days.

  • Natural wind slabs were observed below ridgelines in Hyalite on 1/14. Photo: K. Jamieson

  • Natural avalanche on northerly wind loaded slope near Divide Peak in Hyalite. Photo: C. Forsman

  • King and Queen of the Ridge, Saturday, February 3rd. A Hike and Ski/Ride-a-Thon fundraising event to support the Friends of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center. Sign up and start collecting pledges HERE.

  • Fresh pinwheels indicate the snow surface is moist and larger, wet loose slides will be possible on steep slopes. Photo: S. Magro

  • Wet loose avalanche in Hyalite that occurred during above freezing temperatures. Photo: S. Magro

  • From an email of the two who were caught in the slide:

    We I left around 10:30 for a nice day of skiing at Bridger. Today had been our first day off from work at The Yellowstone Club in almost a month—we are both ski instructors. We lapped Slashmans 3 or 4 times (staying near the lift and feeling out the snow conditions) before deciding to leave the ski area boundary and observe conditions above and below the football field. We found some nice turns through the trees parallel to the football field and stopped to rest below the cliff faces near the cave. We rested for a moment and I asked my partner what he thought of the snow conditions.
            “a little firm but seems stable to me” he said. I started to stick my pole into the snow pointlessly and in that very moment heard the rumble. My heart sank and I knew that was not a sound I wanted to be hearing. I looked at him and then up and saw a wall of snow shoot over the edge of the cliff. I barely had time to yell obscenities and attempt to ski away before my body was pounded with chunks of snow sending me into a tumble of grey and white. I felt as if I was in a washing machine. My mouth filled with snow making it difficult to breath and attempted to spit it out, I was still tumbling. It seemed like an eternity but must have only been 10 or 15 seconds. The snow began to clear around me and I was completely disoriented. My eyes met with a figure, it was my friend. When I realized that we were both alright I felt a feeling of elation and confusion beyond compare. We had both been buried waist deep. I wiggled my way out and ran to him. I asked if he was alright and hugged him. Some others skiers saw us and the debris and came to assist us. My friend lost a ski pole but we found both of our skis. We must have slid around 150 feet. After telling patrol we went home and Slushmans was closed off for the day. We really were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Ski patrol claimed it to be a natural slide. We are both extremely grateful to be alive.

  • The north face of Cedar Mountain avalanched full depth sometime on Jan 1 or morning of January 2. This slope is called "Dirty Bowl" and it appears an impact crater (rockfall, cornice fall) may have triggered the slide. Photo: C. Connor

  • Two skiers were caught and partially buried in a avalanche below the cliffs of saddle peak on 1/2/2018. They were traveling under the cliffs after leaving the south boundary and had stopped to look at the cave. They heard a rumble from above, saw snow coming over the cliffs, looked at one another and started skiing downhill as fast as they could. They were overtook by snow coming off the cliffs and one, possibly both were buried up to their waist.  After self extricating and retrieving gear, they were able to ski to the bottom of the Slushmans lift and report. Ski patrol and Search and Rescue made sure no one else was buried in the slide.

    The slide was apparently triggered above the cliffs by a snowboarder cutting across a small wind loaded pocket (black circle in photo). The fracture was at most 20" deep and 60' across.

    Strong downslope and south winds transporting recent new snow was the predominant weather creating small to medium sized wind slabs mid slope across the greater Bridger Bowl region the previous night and morning.

  • The north face of Cedar Mountain avalanched full depth sometime on Jan 1 or morning of January 2. This slope is called "Dirty Bowl" and it appears an impact crater (rockfall, cornice fall) may have triggered the slide. Photo: Big Sky Ski Patrol

  • These shallow avalanche crowns were south of the Throne near Brackett Creek. photo: E. Stifler

  • This slide was triggered with explosive by Big Sky ski patrol on 12/30. It broke on old, weak snow over the Thanksgiving crust 3-4' deep. Heavy snow and wind loading pushed deeper instabilities to a breaking point in isolated areas. Photo: BSSP

  • Skiers noted that the east face of Mt. Blackmore was largely unaffected by the wind and had many natural dry loose sluffs. They observed no evidence of natural activity from deeper seated instabilities. Photo: B. VandenBos

Videos- Northern Gallatin

Weather Forecast Northern Gallatin

Extended Forecast for

14 Miles SE Gallatin Gateway MT

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Scattered snow showers, mainly before 2am.  Patchy freezing fog after midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around -1. Wind chill values as low as -14. South southwest wind 5 to 8 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 30%. Total nighttime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Scattered
    Snow Showers
    and Patchy
    Freezing Fog

    Low: -1 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: Patchy freezing fog before 9am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 14. Wind chill values as low as -14. West southwest wind 6 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph.

    Patchy
    Freezing Fog
    then Mostly
    Sunny

    High: 14 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: A 20 percent chance of snow showers after 11pm.  Increasing clouds, with a low around 4. Wind chill values as low as -14. Southwest wind 14 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow Showers

    Low: 4 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: A 50 percent chance of snow showers.  Patchy blowing snow before 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 20. Wind chill values as low as -11. Southwest wind 14 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.  New snow accumulation of around an inch possible.

    Chance Snow
    Showers and
    Patchy
    Blowing Snow

    High: 20 °F

  • Saturday
    Night

    Saturday Night: Snow showers likely, mainly before 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 5. West wind 11 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of around an inch possible.

    Snow Showers
    Likely then
    Chance Snow
    Showers

    Low: 5 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: A 30 percent chance of snow showers, mainly after 11am.  Partly sunny, with a high near 19. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

    Chance Snow
    Showers

    High: 19 °F

  • Sunday
    Night

    Sunday Night: A 50 percent chance of snow showers.  Patchy blowing snow. Cloudy, with a low around 10. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.

    Chance Snow
    Showers and
    Patchy
    Blowing Snow

    Low: 10 °F

  • Monday

    Monday: A chance of snow.  Cloudy, with a high near 16.

    Chance Snow

    High: 16 °F

  • Monday
    Night

    Monday Night: A chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 5.

    Chance Snow

    Low: 5 °F

The Last Word

A snowmobiler was caught and killed in an avalanche in Idaho, near the Wyoming border north of Alpine on Tuesday, February 20. This is the 3rd avalanche in SE Idaho since the beginning of the year. The East Idaho News has a preliminary report.


  <<  This is the most recent advisory.