This is Alex Marienthal with pre-season avalanche, weather and event information for the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center on Wednesday, October 14th. This information is sponsored by The Friends of the Avalanche Center.
Winter has been courteous and allowed a proper fall to take place in southwest Montana. The mountain tops recently got their first coat of white, and the weather pattern is starting to shift to cooler temperatures with a few inches of snow expected this weekend. For current weather data check our weather stations in Cooke City and Hyalite, as well as Bridger Bowl’s weather stations, and SNOTEL sites throughout our advisory area.
Soon there will be enough snow to ride with the risk breaking our skis, snowmobiles and body parts on hidden obstacles. If there is enough snow to make turns, there is enough to avalanche. Before your first day on the snow, whether you chase the first major storm or wait until there is a solid base, take time to ensure your avalanche rescue gear is working properly and refresh or update your avalanche skills with a class or two. Many classes are virtual this year, and there are a variety of types and times to choose from. Field days will still take place in-person. See our education calendar for an up to date list of all local classes. Here are a few select upcoming events and opportunities to check out:
Doug will do an online Forecaster Chat about early season snowpack and avalanche accidents on Thursday, November 5 at 6 p.m. It is hosted by Uphill Pursuits and details will be posted soon.
The 6th Annual MSU Snow and Avalanche Workshop will be an hour of live online talks each Monday evening in November.
Our popular Avalanche Fundamentals with Field Course will have online lectures the evening of December 2 and 3 with a choice of field days over the following two weekends. There are separate field sessions tailored for both skiers and splitboarders (Bridger Bowl) and snowmobilers (Buck Ridge).
If you are hungry for a deeper level of avalanche knowledge, this Wednesday through Friday is the Colorado Snow and Avalanche Workshop (Oct. 14-16, 9 a.m.-noon). It’s a webinar tailored to avalanche professionals, but some sessions are applicable to all. Talks will be recorded and available to registered participants until Nov. 1.
Last year, the “Avalanche Hour” podcast interviewed Alex and Doug individually. Besides acting as a helpful refresher for the coming season, there’s good information about our work at the GNFAC. Check out the Avalanche Hour’s long list of other great interviews as well.
We are preparing for winter, scheduling avalanche classes, and setting up weather stations. If you have avalanche, snowpack or weather observations to share. Please submit them via our website, email (firstname.lastname@example.org), phone (406-587-6984), or Instagram (#gnfacobs).
Support the Friends of GNFAC
This year The Friends of the Avalanche Center are unable to host an in-person Powder Blast due to covid. In place of their biggest fund-raiser, the Friends of GNFAC launched an online GoFundMe campaign. Please consider a donation, and we look forward to having an in-person event again in the future.
Read accident reports from previous early season accidents before you venture to the snowy hills. This accident report from October 2012 in the northern Bridger Range, and this report from the tragic fatality three years ago in early October are reminders of the potential consequences of even a small avalanche.