GNFAC Avalanche Forecast for Thu Oct 10, 2019

Not the Current Forecast

This is Alex Marienthal with pre-season avalanche, weather and event information for the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center on Thursday, October 10th. This information is sponsored by The Friends of the Avalanche Center and Bridger Bowl.

Mountain Weather

Winter arrived Tuesday night and over the last two days snow totaled 11-16” in the Bridger Range, 10-12” near West Yellowstone, and 4” near Big Sky, Hyalite and Cooke City. This morning temperatures are single digits above and below zero F. During the storm wind was 5-20 mph with gusts to 30 mph out of the northeast, and this morning wind is northerly at 5-15 mph. Today, temperatures will reach teens F under clearing skies with wind out of the north to northeast at 5-10 mph. On Friday and Saturday, winds will shift westerly and increase to 15-25 mph with temperatures in the 20s F Friday and 30s F through the weekend. The next chance for snow is late Sunday night.

We will update 24-hour snow totals on our regional pages and weather log each morning. Also check our weather stations in Cooke City and Hyalite for hourly temperature and wind data, and find snowfall data via SNOTEL sites throughout our advisory area.

Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion

All Regions

Since summer ended in late September the mountains have received snow storms almost weekly, and with each storm we received a report or two of small avalanches or signs of instability (weather and avalanche log). Last week ice climbers on the Sphinx found a shallow, weak snowpack (photo). On Saturday climbers in the same area had drifts of new snow collapse and “whumph” underneath them, then made a quick decision to head home (report). Instabilities have been generally small, but the size of slides and chances of triggering an avalanche rise with each snowstorm. Even small slides are deadly if they push you into a terrain trap like trees, rocks, gullies, or over cliffs.

It is barely fall, but with layers of snow piling up in the mountains bigger avalanches are possible. Avalanches this time of year are not uncommon, and have injured and killed people in past seasons (accident reports). If you plan to travel in the backcountry, whether skiing, climbing or hunting prepare for avalanches like you would all winter.

  • Carry a beacon, shovel and probe at a minimum. Helmets are a necessity as well.
  • Travel one at a time in avalanche terrain.
  • Avoid steep slopes with fresh drifts of snow, especially where even a small slide could push you into rocks or trees, or pile up deep in a confined gully.
  • Cracking and collapsing of the snow are bulls-eye information that the snow is unstable, and clear signs to avoid steep slopes.
  • As the snow piles up it is a good idea to dig to see the layers below the recent snow. Avoid steep slopes if you find weak, sugary snow underneath new or drifted snow.

We are preparing for winter, setting up weather stations and beginning to collect snowpack information. If you have avalanche, snowpack or weather observations to share. Please submit them via our website, email (, phone (406-587-6984), or Instagram (#gnfacobs).

Upcoming Avalanche Education and Events

Our education calendar is full of awareness lectures and field courses. Check it out and plan to attend one or two: Events and Education Calendar.

Get tickets for the 21st Annual Powder Blast Fundraiser on October 25th at The Emerson Ballroom.


6 November, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness, 6-7pm @ REI Bozeman.

7 November, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness, 6-7pm @ Langford Hall, MSU.

12 November, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness, 6-7pm @ Montana Ski Tuning and Boot Fitters.

14 November, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness, 6-7pm @ South Hedges Hall, MSU.

14 November, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness, 6-7pm @ Uphill Pursuits.

20 November, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness, 6-7pm @ The Mountain Project.

4 & 5 December, Introduction to Avalanche w/ Field Course, Evenings of December 4 & 5 plus one field day either December 7, 8 or 14. Snowmobile specific field day offered December 14. More info and Register Here.


6 November, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness, 6-7pm @ The Base Camp in Helena.


19 November, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness, 6-7pm @ The Base Camp in Billings.

The Last Word

Get tickets for the 21st Annual Powder Blast Fundraiser on October 25th at The Emerson Ballroom.

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