Good morning. This is Alex Marienthal with the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Forecast on Sunday, February 11th at 7:00 a.m. Today’s forecast is sponsored by Bridger Bowl and The Participants of King and Queen of the Ridge. A huge thanks to all who participated and raised funds for The Friends of the GNFAC (details below)! This forecast does not apply to operating ski areas.
Yesterday morning the Bridger Range got 4” of low density snow, 1” fell in Island Park, and none elsewhere. Last night wind increased out of the southwest and northwest at 10-30 mph with gusts of 25-45 mph. This morning temperatures are single digits to teens F. Today, temperatures will climb to the 20s F under partly sunny skies, and wind will be out of the west-northwest at 10-20 mph. Snow showers will return late tonight and tomorrow. Less than an inch will accumulate by tomorrow morning with more expected through tomorrow and during the week.
Near West Yellowstone and Island Park dangerous avalanche conditions exist and a person can trigger large to very large avalanches. Slides can be triggered from flatter terrain below or connected to steep slopes, and can break hundreds of feet wide and 2-4 feet deep. We have removed an avalanche warning that was in place for the past seven days. Natural avalanches may be less likely with a break from snowfall, but over the last week 2-4 feet of snow fell on a very weak snowpack which makes large human triggered avalanches likely.
Today is not a day to travel in or near avalanche terrain. The evidence is clear that you could easily trigger a big avalanche. Over the past week we received extensive reports of natural avalanches, avalanches triggered from flat terrain, and large collapses of the snowpack. A couple rider triggered huge slides in Tepee Basin (new overview video of slide on 2/7, video of other remote triggered slide), and a natural on Ernie Miller Ridge near Bacon Rind (photo) are a few from a long list of recent activity that show what remains likely today.
Plan to stay off of and out from under all slopes steeper than 30 degrees. Dangerous avalanche conditions exist and the avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE.
Near Bozeman, Big Sky, and Cooke City winds increased last night and drifted recent snow into thicker slabs over a weak and unstable snowpack. Over the last few days 6-8” of low density snow fell, and these mountains have received 1-2 feet over the last week. Human-triggered and natural avalanches have been breaking 1-3 feet deep and up to 100-200 feet wide. As the wind picked up yesterday afternoon a skier saw an avalanche run over the cliffs of Saddle Peak in the Bridger Range(details). Yesterday near Cooke City, a rider triggered an avalanche on Crown Butte and was luckily not caught (photos and details), and skiers south of town saw a recent natural avalanche (photo). On Buck Ridge near Big Sky riders triggered a similarly large avalanche from flat terrain nearby (details and photos). Browse the Avalanche and Weather log to see many more similar slides that were noted over the last week.
Choose routes that avoid slopes steeper than 30 degrees and flat terrain below, especially recently wind-loaded slopes. Large, human-triggered avalanches are likely and avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE.
If you venture out, please fill an observation form. It does not need to be technical. Did you see any avalanches? How much snow is on the ground? Was the wind moving snow? Simple observations are incredibly valuable. You can also contact us via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), phone (406-587-6984), or Instagram (#gnfacobs).
King and Queen of The Ridge Results
We closed out King and Queen (of the Apron) with $23,208 raised! The community came out big after a postponed event, participants were crushing bootpack laps and even getting some powder turns in while fundraising for Friends of GNFAC.
Top Fundraising teams were: Cooke City Exxon ($8,271), Science Saves Lives ($4,292), and Map Brewing Company ($1,905). Top individuals were: Mathew S., Dash R., Ron J., Katie B, and Tobin I. Thank you to the Bridger Bowl Events team for all their work, Weston Boards, Bozeman Hot Springs and Blue Ice for donating prizes!
Upcoming Avalanche Education and Events
Our education calendar is full of awareness lectures and field courses. Check it out: Events and Education Calendar.
Every weekend in Cooke City: Friday at The Antlers at 7 p.m., Free Avalanche Awareness and Current Conditions talk, and Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Round Lake Warming Hut, Free Rescue Practice.
Loss in the Outdoors is a support group for those affected by loss and grief related to outdoor pursuits. Check out the link for more information.
From AP News: Avalanche forecasters try to curb deaths as skiers and snowmobilers flock to backcountry areas. The GNFAC and Cooke City are highlighted.