GNFAC Avalanche Forecast for Tue Nov 12, 2019

Not the Current Forecast

This is Ian Hoyer with pre-season avalanche, weather and event information for the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center on Tuesday, November 12th. This update is sponsored by Grizzly Outfitters and Spark R&D.

*Note: Bridger Bowl Ski Area is closed and there is no avalanche control or ski patrol services. Backcountry conditions exist. Workers are setting up for the season and making snow. Please stay clear of work areas, snow guns, chair lifts, and other equipment.

Mountain Weather

On Sunday, temperatures dropped from the 40s F to the teens and single digits F. Precipitation started with rain up to ~8,000 ft but quickly switched over to snow at all elevations. 1-4” of snow fell by yesterday morning. This morning, temperatures are in the 20s F under partly cloudy skies. Winds are west and southwest at 5-20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph. Mountain temperatures today will rise into the mid-30s F with increasing cloud cover and slightly increasing southwest winds. A quick pulse of snow tonight will bring a trace to 2 inches of fresh snow. After skies clear tomorrow morning, expect blue skies and warmer temperatures through the end of the week.

We will update our Weather Log and Regional Conditions every morning with snowfall totals, and our Avalanche Activity list if we get a report.

Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion

All Regions

While the weather has been all over the place the last couple days, it hasn’t changed the big picture for the snowpack. Small avalanches breaking near the surface are the only real concern.

Pay attention to slopes that have more than a couple inches of freshly drifted snow. On Sunday, a wind slab avalanche broke on the north face of Mt Blackmore (details). Skiers in the Bridger Range yesterday found thin winds slabs and had cracks shoot out 15 ft past the tips of their skis, a clear sign of instability (photo). These slabs have bonded over the last 24 hours, but I expect another round of similar, thin wind slabs to develop with tonight’s little bit of new snow and strong winds. Stay on the lookout for signs of instability such as recent avalanches or cracking/collapsing drifts (photo). Either of these are a clear warning to avoid steep slopes.

With temperatures rising into the 40s by the end of the week, wet loose avalanches will be possible. If the snow surface gets sticky and wet, be wary of small avalanches that could push you into rocks or off a cliff.

There are some areas where weak snow has formed near the ground, but they don’t appear to be widespread and without a larger load of snow are not yet a substantial avalanche concern.

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.


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

13 November, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness, 8-9pm @ Bob Ward’s.

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.


23 November, Helena Snowdrifters, Avalanche Awareness and Partner Rescue Training, 9am-3pm at the Mako Building in Helena.


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


19 November, 1-hr Snowmobile Avalanche Awareness, 6-7pm @ Redline Sports in Butte.

The Last Word

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.

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