Regional Conditions for Centennial Range

as of 5:00 am
Today4″ | 5-15 N
Jan 28 0″ | 10-20 SW
Jan 27 5″ | 5-15 W
8775′     1/29 at 8:00
16 ℉
NW - 2 mph
Gusts 6 mph
7750′   01/29 at 8:00
22℉
Depth
Bottom Line: In the last three days, up to 10” of thick, heavy snow fell across our advisory area. The added weight of the new snow on a weak snowpack warrants extra caution if you are considering entering avalanche terrain today. Avalanches within the new snow are the most likely problem. These will be most concerning in high consequence terrain where a small avalanche could be dangerous. Less likely, but more frightening are large avalanches that could break on weak snow deep in the snowpack and fail over a wide area. Manage the avalanche problems by assessing the snowpack, making conservative terrain choices, exposing only one person at a time to avalanche hazard, and giving cornices a wide berth.
Avalanche Concern: Persistent Weak Layer

Snow Observations- Centennial Range & Lionhead

Centennial Range
Hellroaring Creek
Tin Cup Pass-Mt. Jefferson-Centennials

Aspect: north
Slope: 30
HS: 160cm
Basic snow structure: round 160cm-50cm rounds, 50-40cm facets, 40-0cm large facets.
ECTX
CT13 at 40cm not planar

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
Reas Peak
Read Peak, Centenials -Island Park, ID
Incident details include images

Pictures sent to me from an out of state friend. No other info at this time other than that he was able to ride through it uphill.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
Centennials - Montana
Hellroaring Drainage
Incident details include images

During a 3+ mile tour from 6500' to 8500' we did not witness any old or recent avalanche activity on upper elevation slopes, or low elevation areas such as steep banks leading to the Hellroaring Creek where we have in previous season, that isn't to say that high winds haven't filled any observable crown lines in. The snow depth in this region was surprisingly shallow given the reported snow depths at reporting snotel stations. i.e., White Elephant Snotel. It seems as though high wind has scoured exposed areas including ridge tops West facing slopes heavily. Between 7,500' & 8,300', all NW-SW aspects had roughly 65cm of unconsolidated snow. The lower half of the snow pack consisted of various sized facets depending on aspect. In general, we observed a snowpack with poor structure and fair strength. Pit results did not yield propagation in any layers. Compressions tests showed low quality shearing at the interface between the new snow and the older faceted layers.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
Two Top
Centennial Range and Two Top

As you're well aware, the snowpack around West is crap. We found conditions on Two Top to be very similar to Lionhead. We didn't see any avalanche activity but did get some large collapses and unstable test results. Surprisingly, conditions were quite different in the Centennials. We rode on the west side of the range and found 30-50 cm's of snow on south and west-facing slopes. These aspects lacked weak layers near the ground and had a relatively shallow but stable snowpack. As we ventured onto shadier slopes (north-east) we found a different structure. Snow from early in the season had faceted and was capped by a 30-50 cm slab. In general, the snowpack in Centennials is better than Lionhead and Two Top.

Full Snow Observation Report

Avalanche Activity- Centennial Range & Lionhead

Lionhead Range
Lionhead Ridge
Snowmobile Triggered Avalanche Lionhead
Incident details include images
Lionhead Ridge
HS-AM-R2-D2-G
Elevation: 8,800
Aspect: N
Coordinates: 44.7336, -111.3290
Caught: 1 ; Buried: 0

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 the way it did.  

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


More Avalanche Details
Centennial Range
Reas Peak
Snowmobile triggered near Reas Peak
Incident details include images
Reas Peak
HS-AMu-R4-D2.5-O
Coordinates: 44.5477, -111.4860
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Snowmobiler triggered avalanche near Reas Peak on Sunday, 1/19/20. he was able to ride through it uphill.


More Avalanche Details
Northern Madison
Cedar Mtn.
Snowmobile triggered on Cedar
Incident details include images
Cedar Mtn.
HS-R3-D2.5-O
Elevation: 10,000
Aspect: NE
Coordinates: 45.2263, -111.4960
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

I was on the west side of Pioneer Mtn digging a pit for YC Ski Patrol. I heard a few groups of snowmobiles cruising around the foothills of cedar. I turned and saw two snowmobilers cresting the ridge above the slide pictured as the debris was settling down. The sledders enjoyed the view for a few minutes before turning back the way they came and stumbled upon the slide they had unknowingly triggered. They skirted around the side of the crown and stopped for a few minutes. Based on the height of the rider off his sled, I would estimate the crown to be roughly 10’ at its max height. NE aspect below Cedar


More Avalanche Details

Photos- Centennial Range & Lionhead

Displaying 1 - 40
  • The 10' deep avalanche in 2nd Yellowmule is almost completely filled in now. In its place are massive cornices overhanging the slope. Give these beasts a lot of extra room as they can break back far from the edge. Photo: GNFAC

  • Ian Hoyer stands in a snowpit in Beehive Basin. Avalanches are getting harder to trigger, but in more shallow areas we are still finding a poor snowpack structure. The stability test scores are climbing higher, but still propagating and we did not ski the adjacent slope. 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.

  • 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 

  • Snowmobiler triggered avalanche near Reas Peak on Sunday, 1/19/20. He was able to ride through it uphill. Photo: R. Gravatt

  • Snowmobiler triggered avalanche near Reas Peak on Sunday, 1/19/20. He was able to ride through it uphill. Photo: R. Gravatt

  • From obs: "I was on the west side of Pioneer Mtn digging a pit for YC Ski Patrol. I heard a few groups of snowmobiles cruising around the foothills of cedar. I turned and saw two snowmobilers cresting the ridge above the slide pictured as the debris was settling down. The sledders enjoyed the view for a few minutes before turning back the way they came and stumbled upon the slide they had unknowingly triggered. They skirted around the side of the crown and stopped for a few minutes. Based on the height of the rider off his sled, I would estimate the crown to be roughly 10’ at its max height. NE aspect below Cedar" Photo: J. Marcinko

  • With only 3" of new snow overnight, a cornice triggered a large avalanche at Lionhead early this morning. It broke 3 to 4 feet deep and propagated on a buried weak layer. This is the only stability test we need today, human triggered avalanches possible and the management strategy is to avoid steep slopes or be clear about your risk tolerance if you are poking into avalanche terrain. Photo: GNFAC

  • The snowpack in Lionhead is a respectable 6' deep. The facets near the ground are gaining strength and we were unable to get them to break in our tests. Stability is improving! Photo: GNFAC

  • 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

  • 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

  •  @carter.olson

  • From one of the riders that was caught, "The 3 persons involved were traveling across the slope about 20-30 yards up from the tree line parallel to the ridge line in the slide area when it broke, not high marking and not traveling uphill. One rider did increase his elevation while traveling across the slope but was never more than 1/4 of the way up when the slide was triggered."

  • A party of three skiers remote triggered avalanche with at least 6' crown off N face of Mt Porphry along rockband near summit on 12/29/19. They triggered it after tyhey had found "Three pits dug on NE face ascending Mt Porphry indicating increasing stability and no clean propagation. Approx 150-210 cm deep snowpack." Photo: G. Alsentzer

  • A natural avalanche observed on 12/26 from Lionhead Ridge. This slide likely broke during the storm on Christmas Eve. The avalanche is approximately 100 ft wide and on an east facing slope. It appears to have broken on a weak layer mid-pack.

    Photo: GNFAC

  • We dug this snowpit in Denny Creek at the base of Lionhead Ridge near West Yellowstone on 12/22. An poor snowpack structure makes large avalanches possible to trigger. Photo: GNFAC

  • We toured up to about 7700 feet on a NE facing aspect in the N Madison, upon entering the bottom of the meadow we had several large collapses and then one very large collapse that propagated 100+ feet uphill while on lower angle terrain below the steeper terrain Of the meadow above. We dug a pit, we got an ECTP 10. The pit was 75 cm deep, we found basal facets with an ice crust on top and About 40cm of denser 3-4 finger snow above the ice crust. Photo: A. Palombo

  • Riders saw these recent slides on 12/15 near Carrot Basin. Photo: A. Wheeler

  • Riders saw these recent slides on 12/15 near Carrot Basin. Photo: A. Wheeler

  • Riders saw these recent slides on 12/15 near Carrot Basin. Photo: A. Wheeler

  • An old avalanche crown on Lionhead Ridge, taken 12/14. Photo: G. Antonioli

  • Skiers at Targhee Pass near West Yellowstone reported: "We got a few good collapses while skinning up through east-facing low angle meadows, and got some serious cracking and collapsing while stomping on fresh wind pillows just below ridgeline on a northeast-facing slope at about 8200'. We dug down at one of the cracks and found a 35cm thick F+ slab that had failed on a layer of 4-6mm depth hoar. Cracks propagated close to 100'..." Photo: A. Schauer

  • Riders reported multiple natural slab avalanches on N facing slopes. Note widespread crowns along slope in background. Photo: R. Rustigian

  • A snowmobiler triggered an avalanche (yellow pin) north of Crown Butte (the gray mountain at the top of the image). This zone is typically approached from Lulu Pass. His sled was partially buried, but the rider was not. Lots of new snow in the last 24 hours created a CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger.

  • This natural avalanche on the northeast side of Crown Butte near Daisy Pass (Cooke City) almost caught people below. Approximately 2 feet of snow has fallen with wind and the avalanche danger is rated CONSIDERABLE. Photo: B. Whittle

  • Photo taken 12/6 near Two Top, south of West Yellowstone.

    From email: "South facing stuff was thinner than I expected and north and west facing was a lot better than I expected. South facing stuff was 59cm deep and we had multiple ECT-P 14’s between the facets at the bottom and the newer snow."

    Photo: B. Radecky

  • This is a close-up of the angular Depth Hoar grains found near the ground in the mountains south of Big Sky to West Yellowstone. These are weak and cannot support a lot of snow weight. Avalanches will break near the ground on these. Photo: GNFAC

  • At the bottom of the snowpack is a thick layer of weak and sugary, faceted snow called Depth Hoar. These large grains do not bond well and form an unstable foundation of the snowpack. Avalanches will break at this layer. Photo: GNFAC

  • 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

  • These small crowns indicate that new snow may not bond well to the old snow surface. Photo: B. Fredlund

  • Sometime last week (11/20-11/22) these large avalanches occurred on heavily wind loaded northeast facing slopes in the Absaroka. The snowpack there is thin and faceted, similar to the southern ranges and mountains near West Yellowstone. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • Sometime last week (11/20-11/22) these large avalanches occurred on heavily wind loaded northeast facing slopes in the Absaroka. The snowpack there is thin and faceted, similar to the southern ranges and mountains near West Yellowstone. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • Strong winds found snow to transport on Saturday 11/23. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • From obs: "We took a tour up into the Maid today. A generally stable snowpack in the area, new snow seemed to bond well with the underneath crust layer. We did observe small pinwheels/rollers on steep pitches on southeast aspects, mostly due to the rocks heating up during the day. We also observed sluff buildup on aprons below the shadier and steep northern aspects." Photo: Tommy S.

  • A slab avalanche was spotted from the highway. This slope is to the north of Lionhead Ridge a few miles. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • As of 11/20/19 The mountains near Lionhead Ridge outside of West Yellowstone have thin snow cover. The snowpack is shallow (6-18"), and mostly weak and faceted. This will make dangerous avalanche conditions when it snows more. Photo: GNFAC

  • We skied into Lionhead Ridge on Wednesday, November 20th. The snowpack was shallow (6-18"), and mostly weak and faceted. This will make dangerous avalanche conditions when it snows more. Photo: GNFAC

Weather Forecast- Centennial Range

Extended Forecast for

10 Miles ESE Lakeview MT

  • Today

    Today: A 30 percent chance of snow before 11am.  Mostly sunny, with a high near 28. North northwest wind 6 to 9 mph becoming west southwest in the afternoon.  Total daytime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow
    then Mostly
    Sunny

    High: 28 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Snow likely, mainly after 11pm.  Increasing clouds, with a low around 16. West southwest wind 7 to 11 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

    Snow Likely

    Low: 16 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: A 40 percent chance of snow before 11am.  Cloudy through mid morning, then gradual clearing, with a high near 26. West southwest wind 8 to 10 mph becoming northwest in the morning.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow
    then Partly
    Sunny

    High: 26 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: Increasing clouds, with a low around 13. South wind 10 to 14 mph.

    Increasing
    Clouds

    Low: 13 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: A 40 percent chance of snow.  Cloudy, with a high near 24. South wind 13 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    High: 24 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: A 20 percent chance of snow.  Cloudy, with a low around 22. South wind 16 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow

    Low: 22 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 31. Breezy, with a south wind 16 to 22 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.

    Cloudy then
    Mostly Cloudy
    and Breezy

    High: 31 °F

  • Saturday
    Night

    Saturday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 21. Breezy, with a south wind 21 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph.

    Mostly Cloudy
    and Breezy

    Low: 21 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: A chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 27. Breezy.

    Chance Snow
    and Breezy

    High: 27 °F

The Last Word

See our mid-season snowpack summary for a review of the deep slab avalanche problem and general (conservative) travel advice.