This is Alex Marienthal with pre-season avalanche, weather and event information for the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center on Friday, October 27. This information is sponsored by The Friends of the Avalanche Center and The Sponsors of Powder Blast 2023.
There are a few tickets left for the Powder Blast fundraiser tonight! If you can’t make the event in person, you can still bid on auction items online. Get your tickets, donate, and bid for items in the silent auction on our GalaBid Website.
Since Tuesday night the mountains received 6-14” of snow (0.7-2.4” of snow water equivalent) with the most near Cooke City, West Yellowstone, and Island Park (Weather and Avalanche Log). Wind has been westerly at 5-15 mph with gusts of 25-35 mph for the last 48 hours. This morning temperatures are low teens F, and today will reach low teens and low 20s F. Light snowfall will continue today with 2-5” possible before skies clear late tomorrow. The start of next week will be mostly clear with high temperatures in the low 20s to low 30s F. The next chance for snow is next Thursday or Friday.
There is enough new snow for the ambitious few to head out for some early season turns, and for everyone else the snow is a reminder to tune up sleds and skis, check avalanche rescue gear for damage, and put fresh batteries in our beacon. If you are planning to travel in the snowy mountains this weekend, whether skiing, ice-climbing or hunting, before crossing steep slopes consider the potential for avalanches. Be especially cautious of slopes that have fresh drifts of snow and slopes with old layers of snow underneath the new snow.
The first avalanches of the season occurred last week (Mt. Blackmore, Pine Creek), and more will probably occur this weekend with the new snow. Avalanches have injured and killed people in past early seasons (accident reports). If you plan to travel in the backcountry, prepare for avalanches like you would mid-winter:
- Carry a beacon, shovel and probe at a minimum. Helmets are a necessity as well.
- Travel one at a time in avalanche terrain (all snow covered slopes steeper than 30 degrees).
- Avoid steep slopes with fresh drifts of snow, especially where a slide could push you into rocks, trees or pile up deep in a confined gully.
- Cracking and collapsing of the snow are bulls-eye information that the snow is unstable, and clear signs to avoid steep slopes.
- As the snow piles up it is a good idea to dig to see the layers below the recent snow. Avoid steep slopes if you find weak, sugary snow underneath new snow or drifted snow.
- Consider refreshing your avalanche skills with a class or two this season. See our education calendar for a list of all local classes.
We will share observations through social media and issue snowpack and weather updates when necessary. If you get out in the mountains please share your avalanche, snowpack and weather observations which greatly help us understand what is going on out there. Please submit observations via our website, email (firstname.lastname@example.org), phone (406-587-6984), or Instagram (#gnfacobs).
Upcoming Avalanche Education and Events
Our education calendar is full of awareness lectures and field courses. Check it out: Events and Education Calendar.
Avalanche Awareness for Hunters: A quick read and worthwhile refresher on ways to avoid avalanches for anyone planning to travel in the snowy mountains.