Good Morning. This is Ian Hoyer with the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Forecast on Friday, January 10th at 7:30 a.m. Today’s forecast is sponsored by Grizzly Outfitters and Your Montana Chevy Dealers. This forecast does not apply to operating ski areas.
Since yesterday morning, 4-7” of new snow fell near Bozeman and near Big Sky with 1-2” near West Yellowstone and Cooke City. Winds are out of the west at 15-20 mph with gusts of 35 mph. Mountain temperatures are in the single digits above and below zero F. Winds today will be 15-25 mph from the southwest with gusts to 35. Snowfall tonight will bring 2-4” by tomorrow morning.
Triggering an avalanche is likely today in the mountains around Cooke City. Snow finally backed off a bit yesterday with only 2” of new snow, but this comes on top of the steady loading the snowpack has received over the last week and a half. Avalanches may break in the new snow or deeper in the snowpack. On Wednesday, a skier near Cooke City triggered an avalanche that broke 2’ deep and 50’ wide (photo). You could triggering a much larger avalanche, particularly on upper elevation and windloaded slopes. Dangerous conditions exist and the avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE.
Another 4-7” of new snow brings 48 hour snow totals up over a foot in the Bridger and Northern Madison Ranges. West winds up to 30 mph have drifted this new snow into thicker slabs that will be easily triggered by the weight of a skier or rider today. Avoid these wind drifted slopes where you are most likely to trigger an avalanche. Avalanches breaking deeper and wider are also possible on weak layers lower in the snowpack that have just been stressed by a load of new snow on top of them (video). The avalanche danger is rated CONSIDERABLE on windloaded slopes and MODERATE on all others.
The northern Gallatin Range has 7” of new snow today, but this is the first significant snowfall in the last week. Moderate west winds have blown this new snow into drifts that will be easily triggered today. Watch for these drifts near ridgelines and avoid the deepest drifts where you could trigger a larger slide. Look for shooting cracks as bullseye data that you’ve found one of these unstable drifts. For today, the avalanche danger is rated MODERATE.
The mountains around West Yellowstone haven’t gotten as much new snow as other parts of the advisory area. Yesterday, I toured in Bacon Rind and found a snowpack adjusting well to the couple inches of new snow (video). However, on our drive down we stopped by Hebgen Lake and remotely triggered a small slide (6” deep and 10’ wide) from 100’ away on a roadcut adjacent to the highway (photo). This is a good reminder that even without much recent loading, the poor snowpack structure in the southern ranges is not to be trusted. While the likelihood of triggering slides is decreasing, larger avalanches are possible. For today, the avalanche danger is rated MODERATE.
Webpage dedicated to the Centennial Range in Idaho and Montana
After the two snowmobiler avalanche fatalities on Reas Peak in the Centennial Range in January 2018 we created a webpage so riders could get good, relevant information regarding snowpack and avalanches. Although the Centennial Range is not part of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center's forecast area, we are the closest avalanche center and have valuable information to share. More…
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.
Every Friday and Saturday, Snowpack Update and Rescue Training. Friday, 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Soda Butte Lodge. Saturday anytime between 10-2 @ Round Lake.
January 12, 1-hr Women’s Avalanche Awareness, 7-8 p.m. at SHINE Bottle Shop.
January 15 and 16, Introduction to Avalanche w/ Field Course, evenings of January 15 & 16 plus one field day either January 18, 19 or 25. Snowmobile specific field day offered January 25. More Info and Register Here.
January 27, Avalanche Information and Demonstration Table, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Montana Science Center.
January 29, GNFAC Forecaster Chat: Avalanche Myth Busters, 6-8 p.m. at Uphill Pursuits.
January 31, Women’s Only Companion Rescue Clinic, 6 - 8 pm at REI followed by a field day February 1. More info and Register Here.
February 1, King and Queen of the Ridge at Bridger Bowl (fundraiser). This is the Friends of the Avalanche Center’s second biggest fundraiser of the year. Come on out and help us raise money by hiking and skiing laps on the ridge. Prizes, camaraderie and a good time is guaranteed. Register with Bridger to hike in the event, and create a pledge page to raise funds with your Ridge laps.
January 15, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness, 7-8 p.m. at 5518 Designs.
January 15, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness, 7-8 p.m. at University of Montana Western.
January 29 and 30, Introduction to Avalanche w/ Field Course, evenings of January 29 & 30 plus a field day February 1. Snowmobile specific field day offered February 2. More Info and Register Here.
January 18, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Homestake Lodge.
January 25, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness, 7-8 p.m. at West Yellowstone Holiday Inn.
February 1, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness, 7-8 p.m. at West Yellowstone Holiday Inn.
January 28, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness, 6-7 p.m. Carroll College.
January 30, Introduction to Avalanche w/ Field Course, evening of January 30 plus a field day February 2. More info and Register Here.
On Tuesday (1/7/20), 3 skiers were killed and 5 rescued in an in-bounds avalanche at Silver Mountain in Idaho. Preliminary Info.