Good morning. This is Ian Hoyer with the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Forecast on Saturday, January 15th at 7:00 a.m. This information is sponsored by Bridger Bowl, Cooke City Motorsports, and Klim. This forecast does not apply to operating ski areas.
There is no new snow to report. Temperatures are in the teens and 20s F. Winds are 10-20 mph out of the south and west with gusts into the 20s and 30s mphs. Temperatures will climb into the 20s and 30s F. Moderate south and west winds will continue with mostly sunny skies today. The next chance for snow is Tuesday into Wednesday.
Avalanches are unlikely across the advisory area. It has been 7 days since the last significant snowfall. As Alex saw yesterday in a tour around the southern Madison Range, this break in loading has allowed the weak layers at the ground to gain strength and wind drifted snow at the surface to bond to the snow beneath (video). This does not mean it is impossible to trigger a slide. While generally unlikely, there may still be spots where you could trigger an avalanche. Be on the search for signs of instability and ready to retreat to mellower terrain if you find them. Dig in the snow to double check that you haven’t found an isolated area where the weak layers at the ground remain weak and ready to avalanche. Look for pockets of wind drifted snow that for some reason haven’t bonded well, especially if you’re planning on traveling in high consequence terrain where even a small slide would be a big problem. Strong winds have built large cornices (photo). Give them a wide berth if you’re traveling on ridgelines above them because they can break off further back than you expect.
Cover your bases by only exposing one person at a time to steep slopes and making sure everyone in your party is carrying rescue gear and knows how to use it.
The avalanche danger is LOW.
Upcoming Education Opportunities
The West Yellowstone Beacon Park is up and running! Stop by to check it out and practice with your rescue gear.
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:
TODAY! January 15, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., Avalanche Awareness and Beacon Park at Big Sky Community Park with Big Sky Community Organization.
TOMORROW! January 16th, 4-8 p.m., Pint Night benefiting the Darren Johnson Avalanche Education Memorial Fund at Beehive Brewery
January 20 + Field day. Our popular Avalanche Fundamentals with Field Course is perfect as a refresher or an introduction to avalanches. We are introducing a new format with four pre-recorded lectures to watch at your convenience, a live question and answer session, and a choice of a snowmobile or ski/ board-based field day occurring the following two weekends.
Every Saturday near Cooke City, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. FREE snowpack update and transceiver/rescue training. Stop by for 20 minutes or more at the Round Lake Warming Hut.
As we wait for the next dump of snow, now is an excellent time to practice avalanche rescue. Are you fast and efficient with your beacon? Is your partner? Even the sharpest knife needs an occasional tune. Check out this BCA video to hone your skills.