Good Morning. This is Dave Zinn with pre-season avalanche, weather and event information for the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center on Monday, November 9th at 6:30 a.m. This information is sponsored by Highline Partners and World Boards. We will issue the next bulletin as conditions warrant.
*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.
In the last 24 hours, the mountains around West Yellowstone and Cooke City received 4” of new snow with 1-2” in the mountains near Bozeman and Big Sky. Winds are 10-15 MPH from the west with mountain temperatures in the single digits above and below zero F.
Snow will return late Tuesday morning with 2-4” falling by Thursday. Winds will be 5-10 MPH from the west and pick up to 10-20 MPH on Tuesday with the storm. Mountain temperatures for the week will peak in the teens and 20s F.
In the last two days, Cooke City received 13” of new snow (1.2” of snow water equivalent, SWE) with 4-7” (0.5-0.6” of SWE) in the mountains around West Yellowstone, Bozeman, and Big Sky. Yesterday, a skier in Hyalite observed this new snow getting drifted by the wind and got an unstable test result with an extended column test. Avalanches will be most likely where the wind has drifted the new snow and in areas where there was snow on the ground before the last storm. Recent avalanche activity, whumphing, and cracks shooting out from your feet indicate danger if you are on a steep slope. Move to flatter terrain and obsess about the consequences of even a small slide. If you are getting out in the mountains, everyone in your group needs to carry and know how to use a beacon, shovel, and probe.
If you decide to hold off and wait for more snow, practice with your rescue equipment and take an avalanche class. TONIGHT, Ian and Alex will discuss local avalanche issues and strategies at the virtual MSU Snow and Avalanche Workshop at 7:00 p.m.
Remember that avalanches do not care whether you are bringing an elk out of the mountains or searching for powder. Dial back early season objectives to reflect higher levels of uncertainty this time of year and the consequences of getting dragged across rocks and through trees by an avalanche.
We’ll be updating the weather log, photos page and avalanche activity list daily and issuing early season updates throughout the fall as conditions merit. 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).
Upcoming Avalanche Education and Events
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:
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). There will be a second course on January 23 and 24.
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.
Support the Friends of the 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.
On Tuesday a young woman was killed when she suffered trauma from a bad fall while skiing The Great One near Fairy Lake. We are saddened by this accident and our condolences go out to her family and friends. See Gallatin County Sheriff Office for more info.