Regional Conditions for Bridgers

as of 5:00 am
Today0″ | 10-20 SW
Jan 20 0″ | 15-25 WSW
Jan 19 1″ | 20-30 W
8100′     1/21 at 21:00
28 ℉
0″New
8500′   1/21 at 21:00
25 ℉
SW - 6 mph
Gusts 14mph
Bottom Line: Seventeen human triggered and natural avalanches were reported from this weekend in the mountains around Lionhead and Cooke City and the Bridger, Madison, and Southern Gallatin Ranges. People have been caught, but, thankfully, no one has ended up underneath the snow. While it continues to get harder to trigger these large avalanches each day without new snow, it is still possible. The management strategy is careful terrain selection and an honest assessment of what you are willing to risk.
Avalanche Concern: Persistent Weak Layer

Past 5 Days

Fri Jan 17

Moderate
Sat Jan 18

Considerable
Sun Jan 19

Moderate
Mon Jan 20

Moderate
Today

Moderate

Avalanche Activity- Bridgers

Bridger Range
Truman Gulch
Collapses and Whumphs west side Bridgers
Truman Gulch
Aspect: W
Coordinates: 45.8535, -110.9700
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From obs: "Took a tour down the ridge dividing Truman and Jones creek Sunday.Snow varied from 12 inches of facets topped with a crust to big solid wind deposits sitting on basal facets to 2 feet of fist and 4 finger snow over a 1 finger crust over more facets. Quite a bit of cracking and whoomphing on westerly and wnw aspects. I avoided the large paths altogether and stayed on the ridge."


More Avalanche Details
Bridger Range
Texas Meadow
Skier triggered north of Bridger
Incident details include images
Texas Meadow
HS-ASu-R2-D2-O
Elevation: 8,000
Aspect: SE
Coordinates: 45.8406, -110.9330
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

A skier was skinning uphill, breaking trail and triggered this avalanche on 1/19/20. They reported, " released a small pocket near texas meadow. Maybe 50 ft wide, 2 ft crown and ran 150 ft....I was not caught and nobody was buried or injured. I was skinning up at about 1130...I got to where it was steeper and as I reached thinner snow near rocks I felt a whump. I took one more step and the pocket released."


More Avalanche Details
Bridger Range
Bridger Peak
Cracking/Collapsing on Bridger Ridge
Bridger Peak
Elevation: 8,500
Aspect: SE
Coordinates: 45.7701, -110.9400
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From obs: "Observed whumping and cracking on a slope <25 degrees, E-SE facing. We were on top of the ridge in a safe place, but it was easy to see how a steeper slope could be triggered by someone on more mellow terrain below or off to the side. While traversing the ridge from the M to Bridger we observed multiple (past) cornice collapses that triggered small or no slides, but also a larger slide in the pinnacles."


More Avalanche Details

Photos- Bridgers

Displaying 1 - 40
  • From email:

    "I wanted to make you aware of a snowmobile triggered slide in Lionhead today. Fortunately, I was not injured, was able to stay completely on top, climbed through the majority of the snow wash after seeing it begin to break, and relatively slowly slid down with the last of the moving snow while still on the machine. When I came to a stop, I stood up and was completely free of the snow. Our group is trained in avalanche safety, practiced beacon use prior to leaving town in the morning, were wearing avy gear, and were very fortunate that this ended up the way it did. 

    A clear reminder that this can happen to any of us and to be careful out there."

    Photo: Anonymous 

  • A skier was skinning uphill, breaking trail and triggered this avalanche on 1/19/20. They reported, " released a small pocket near texas meadow. Maybe 50 ft wide, 2 ft crown and ran 150 ft....I was not caught and nobody was buried or injured. I was skinning up at about 1130...I got to where it was steeper and as I reached thinner snow near rocks I felt a whump. I took one more step and the pocket released."

  • A skier was skinning uphill, breaking trail and triggered this avalanche on 1/19/20. They reported, " released a small pocket near texas meadow. Maybe 50 ft wide, 2 ft crown and ran 150 ft....I was not caught and nobody was buried or injured. I was skinning up at about 1130...I got to where it was steeper and as I reached thinner snow near rocks I felt a whump. I took one more step and the pocket released."

  • A skier was skinning uphill, breaking trail and triggered this avalanche on 1/19/20. They reported, " released a small pocket near texas meadow. Maybe 50 ft wide, 2 ft crown and ran 150 ft....I was not caught and nobody was buried or injured. I was skinning up at about 1130...I got to where it was steeper and as I reached thinner snow near rocks I felt a whump. I took one more step and the pocket released."

  • The crown of this snowmobiler triggered avalanche tapered to a thin slab. These thin areas of the slope are prime zones to trigger a slide from. Photo: GNFAC

  • This big natural avalanche broke late on 1/17/20 or early 1/18/20 after strong wind and new snow (1" SWE) heavily loaded slopes. Photo: GNFAC

  • Natural avalanche on 1/16 near Hardscrabble Peak in the Northern Bridgers.

    From observation: "At some point between 12:00 and 15:00 a large natural slide occurred in 'October Bowl'. My partner and I saw no tracks in the area. We witnessed a large amount of snow being deposited on that aspect throughout the day. In the photos you can see the crown from 01/16 and the new crown up and to the right."

    Photo: R. Griffiths

  • Natural avalanche on 1/17 near Hardscrabble Peak in the Northern Bridgers.

    From observation: "At some point between 12:00 and 15:00 a large natural slide occurred in 'October Bowl'. My partner and I saw no tracks in the area. We witnessed a large amount of snow being deposited on that aspect throughout the day. In the photos you can see the crown from 01/16 and the new crown up and to the right."

    Photo: R. Griffiths

  • "... while touring in the Northern Bridgers, my partner and I noticed a very large avalanche that occurred on a North face in "October Bowl" just to the south of Hardscrabble Pk. We didn't witness it and are unsure of a trigger, but we came in contact with all parties believed to be out there and assume it occurred naturally early this morning from heavy wind-loading. The crown seemed to be 2-3' deep but stepped down to the ground about 200' below the crown. The slide was about 400' in width and ran about 1,000' and we assumed classifications of R3.5 and D3. Debris pile was expansive and deep, and prompted us to stick to Southern aspects."  Photo: McKinley Talty

  • "... while touring in the Northern Bridgers, my partner and I noticed a very large avalanche that occurred on a North face in "October Bowl" just to the south of Hardscrabble Pk. We didn't witness it and are unsure of a trigger, but we came in contact with all parties believed to be out there and assume it occurred naturally early this morning from heavy wind-loading. The crown seemed to be 2-3' deep but stepped down to the ground about 200' below the crown. The slide was about 400' in width and ran about 1,000' and we assumed classifications of R3.5 and D3. Debris pile was expansive and deep, and prompted us to stick to Southern aspects."  Photo: McKinley Talty

  • From e-mail: "Skiers triggered two separate slides on south Saddle this afternoon. we witnessed the smaller slide to the lookers right of the big slide, the bigger one happened later apparently... The first smaller slide was caused by a ski cut near the trees, fracture was about 2 feet, soft slab that seemed to run on a thin sun crust. below the sun crust was also very weak and sugary. Not sure when the second skier went farther out and triggered the whole bowl, but they got lucky!!" Photo: T. Andersen

  • From e-mail: "Skiers triggered two separate slides on south Saddle this afternoon. we witnessed the smaller slide to the lookers right of the big slide, the bigger one happened later apparently... The first smaller slide was caused by a ski cut near the trees, fracture was about 2 feet, soft slab that seemed to run on a thin sun crust. below the sun crust was also very weak and sugary. Not sure when the second skier went farther out and triggered the whole bowl, but they got lucky!!" Photo: T. Andersen

  • Skier triggered avalanche in Argentina Bowl on Saddle Peak. Observed from the highway. Occurred during the day on Wednesday, 1/15/2020. Photo: GNFAC

  • Skier triggered wind slab reported north of Bridger Bowl on 13 January. Photo: B. Henry

  • Skier triggered wind slab reported north of Bridger Bowl on 13 January. Photo: B. Henry

  • These natural avalanches likely occurred on Saturday, January 11. New snow and wind loaded slopes and we saw other slides as we rode around. Photo: GNFAC

  • This natural avalanche in 3rd Yellowmule on Buck Ridge likely occurred on Saturday, January 11. It was a wind loaded and very steep slope. It broke on facets near the ground and was big enough to bury a person (D2). The size was 2-3' deep, 200' wide and 75' vertical. Photo: GNFAC

  • This natural avalanche in 3rd Yellowmule on Buck Ridge likely occurred on Saturday, January 11. It was a wind loaded and very steep slope. It broke on facets near the ground and was big enough to bury a person (D2). The size was 2-3' deep, 200' wide and 75' vertical. Photo: GNFAC

  • February 1, King and Queen of the Ridge at Bridger Bowl (fundraiser). This is the Friends of the Avalanche Center’s second biggest fundraiser of the year. Come on out and help us raise money by hiking and skiing laps on the ridge. Prizes, camaraderie and a good time is guaranteed. Register with Bridger to hike in the event, and create a pledge page to raise funds with your Ridge laps.

  • We visited the avalanche that was triggered by a snowmobiler and partially buried 2 people on January 4th. The crown was 10 feet at the deepest part. Photo: GNFAC

  • This slide was triggered by Bridger Bowl ski patrol during control work on Saturday (1/4/2020). It shows deeply buried persistent weak layers from early October and November were pushed to a breaking point by the recent snow and wind. A person can trigger avalanches like this on heavily wind loaded slopes in the backcountry. Additionally, shallower large avalanches can be triggered on any steep slope. Photo: J. Olson

  • This slide was triggered by Bridger Bowl ski patrol during control work on Saturday (1/4/2020). It shows deeply buried persistent weak layers from early October and November were pushed to a breaking point by the recent snow and wind. A person can trigger avalanches like this on heavily wind loaded slopes in the backcountry. Additionally, shallower large avalanches can be triggered on any steep slope. Photo: BBSP

  • This slide was triggered by Bridger Bowl ski patrol during control work on Saturday (1/4/2020). It shows deeply buried persistent weak layers from early October and November were pushed to a breaking point by the recent snow and wind. A person can trigger avalanches like this on heavily wind loaded slopes in the backcountry. Additionally, shallower large avalanches can be triggered on any steep slope. Photo: BBSP

  • Skiers saw this debris and crown in 'Avalanche Bowl' near Fairy Lake on Friday (1/3/20). Photo: S. Mooney

  • We saw this avalanche crown on our drive up Bridger Canyon on Friday (1/3). It looks at least 3' deep and broke near the ridge on a heavily wind loaded slope. Photo: GNFAC

  • This small wind slab was remotely triggered while skinning into the Maid of the Mist basin. Throughout the day they continued to encounter other small, reactive wind slabs and strong winds. Small avalanches are a warning sign that larger ones are possible. Photo: Sam Wilson

  • Although there was 3' of snow at 8,200' on the Throne, the snowpack was very thin for most of the way in. Photo: GNFAC

  • Riders near Fairy Lake reported this slide on Saturday 12/21. Photo: @turbo_dieshall

  • From IG message: "5' thick wind slab just behind little bear remote triggered riding along the ridge." @skidooin_it

  • From an email, "... our party observed several small to medium-sized releases that occured on a heavily-loaded east aspect overnight. None stepped down in the snowpack, but they certainly could have taken a person for a ride. Overalll, stability seemed to be good, with the exception of isolated wind-loaded areas." Photo S. Reinsel

  • This avalanche crown was seen Wednesday (12/18), and probably ran a day or two prior. Photo: GNFAC

  • This avalanche crown was seen Wednesday (12/18), and probably ran a day or two prior. Photo: GNFAC

  • From Obs: "Out poking around the Northern Bridgers today and found some really terrible structure... We dug a couple of pits and both exhibited terrible structure with pronounced facet layers between the most recent pair of melt-freeze and rain crusts.

    Results from one of the pits were: 7900' NE aspect 33 degree slope HS95cm (photo included)
    - ECTP12@60cm on 2mm well developed facets below most recent M/F crust
    - Weak facetted layer is 5cm thick 4F- hardness
    - Slab above is a 4F to 1F hardness slab of new graupel and decomposing grains on top of the 1F+ M/F crust..." 

    Photo: Z. Miller

  • We went to look at the snowpack on Saddle Peak in the backcountry south of Bridger Bowl (12/5/19). Heavily wind loaded slopes have hard slabs over weak facets. Unfortunately this poor snowpack structure will be with us for a while in the backcountry. It will not get compacted by skier traffic or show obvious signs of instability. SKi patrol triggered this slide just inside their boundary. This is the first time they have done control this season, so it is a glimpse of what we might find in the uncontrolled backcountry snowpack. Photo: GNFAC

  • The Bridger Bowl Ski Patrol triggered this slide on a heavily wind-loaded east facing slope at the ridgeline. They wrote, "With a shovel push the vertical cornice/pillow broke 15''-36'' deep on a steep and rounded bulge just south of Lee's Leap running on the crust. The debris terminated well below Pat's Chute." Its code is HS-AC-R2-D2-O-TR. Photo: BBSP
  • This large avalanche was triggered intentionally by the Bridger Bowl Ski Patrol at the ridgeline above little Slushman's Ravine. They were cutting a cornice and it broke 7 feet back from the edge, 4 feet deep and 150 feet wide. It was a hard slab avalanche and ran 1150 feet. It was east facing and broke on a crust formed in the early season. It's code is HS-AC-R2-D3-O-TL. Photo: BBSP

  • We put up the Taylor Fork weather station today (12/03) and it is churning out hourly data. Check it out here: https://www.mtavalanche.com/weather/stations/taylor-fork

  • We partnered with the Gallatin Valley Snowmobile Association to put in two new beacon checkers at the Taylor Fork and Buck Ridge trailheads. They are working great!

    Thanks GVSA! Photo: GNFAC

  • We recognize that backcountry skiing can be daunting to approach. That’s why Ben Goertzen and the Friends of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center have teamed up to help breakdown some of the most prominent barriers of entry to backcountry skiing through this campaign. One lucky winner will be given a complete backcountry skiing kit, a spot in an avalanche awareness course, and featured in a three part video series that ends with an excursion into the backcountry with professional skier and filmmaker, Ben Goertzen . These videos will be used by the Friends of GNFAC to help other aspiring backcountry skiers gain awareness, knowledge and start to breakdown their barriers to entry.

    Click Here for More Details on How to Enter

    Watch the Backcountry Barriers Launch Video: https://vimeo.com/376473804

  • We skied in the northern Bridgers (12/2/19), and an unstable test result (ECTP14) prompted us to adjust our travel plans. In the mountains around Bozeman and Big Sky the snowpack is generally stable, and will get more stable without snow the next few days, but it is just as important as ever to carefully assess stability of each slope, each day you plan to ride in avalanche terrain. East aspect. 8,100' elev. Photo: GNFAC 

WebCams


Bridger Base Area

Ridge, Looking North

Bridger Lift

Weather Forecast Bridgers

Extended Forecast for

10 Miles NNE Bozeman MT

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Snow, mainly before 4am.  Patchy blowing snow after 11pm. Low around 22. Southwest wind 18 to 21 mph becoming west northwest after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 30 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 90%. Total nighttime snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

    Snow and
    Patchy
    Blowing Snow

    Low: 22 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: A 20 percent chance of snow after 4pm.  Patchy blowing snow. Mostly sunny, with a high near 28. Windy, with a west wind 17 to 22 mph increasing to 27 to 32 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 46 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow and
    Patchy
    Blowing Snow

    High: 28 °F

  • Wednesday
    Night

    Wednesday Night: A 50 percent chance of snow.  Patchy blowing snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 22. Breezy, with a west southwest wind 18 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 37 mph.  New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

    Chance Snow
    and Patchy
    Blowing Snow

    Low: 22 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: A 40 percent chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 35. West southwest wind around 17 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    High: 35 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 30. Southwest wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph.

    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 30 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: A 20 percent chance of snow after 11am.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 39.

    Slight Chance
    Snow

    High: 39 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: A 30 percent chance of snow, mainly before 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 28. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    Low: 28 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 37.

    Mostly Sunny

    High: 37 °F

  • Saturday
    Night

    Saturday Night: A slight chance of snow after 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 29.

    Slight Chance
    Snow

    Low: 29 °F

The Last Word

In the last week, there were five avalanche fatalities in the U.S., in Oregon, Idaho, Utah, California, and Colorado. This season there have been 12 avalanche fatalities (More info). We are deeply saddened by each of these events. The snowpack throughout the western U.S. buried weak layers that have been overloaded by storms since the start of 2020. Ride safe.