Trip Planning for Northern Madison

as of 5:00 am
Today8″ | 20-50 SW
Nov 30 0″ | 20-33 SW
Nov 29 0″ | 5-15 W
9400′     12/01 at 14:00
20 ℉
S - 11 mph, Gusts 39
0 " New
8880′     12/01 at 15:00
25℉
29″ Depth
Bottom Line: Big Sky Ski Resort received at least 8” of new snow while the Bridger Range and northern Gallatin Range got 1”. Deep drifts were not cracking or collapsing, but at higher elevations in the starting zones a climber or skier could possibly trigger an avalanche. Gullies will be loaded with drifts and caution should be used crossing them. Near the ridgetops shooting cracks in wind blown snow are a clear sign of instability.
Primary Problem: Wind-Drifted Snow

Past 5 Days

Sun Nov 27

Moderate
Mon Nov 28

Moderate
Tue Nov 29

Moderate
Wed Nov 30

Moderate
Today

Moderate

Relevant Avalanche Activity

Northern Madison
Big Sky Resort
BSSP Trigger Avalanche - Cold Springs
Incident details include images
Big Sky Resort
AE-O
Aspect: N
Coordinates: 45.2760, -111.4360
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From BSSP Observations: "A wind slab triggered near the top of Cold Springs ran down and triggered a persistent slab around constriction level (see pics). This deeper failure occurred about 20cm off the ground at the Oct/Nov interface in a snowpack that was only about 1m deep." 


More Avalanche Details
Bridger Range
Bridger Bowl
Skier triggered avalanche NE aspect Bridger.
Incident details include images
Bridger Bowl
HS-ASu-R2-D1.5-I
Elevation: 7,800
Aspect: NE
Coordinates: 45.8264, -110.9290
Caught: 1 ; Buried: 0

From obs: "Triggered a small(d1r1?) wind slab off the bridger chair in bounds at bridger. Little skiers right of bumble chute on the roll over skiers left of bronco. NE face. Rollover around 35 degrees mellowing throughout the run. The face had tracks from earlier today before i triggered the slide. I was able to self arrest and stop myself before being carried. The crown was around 20-25 ft wide and the slide ran roughly 100ft downhill before stopping. Both myself and my partner skied away unharmed."


More Avalanche Details
Northern Madison
Beehive Basin
Natural loose snow and rollerballs, Beehive and Bridger
Incident details include images
Beehive Basin
L-N-R1-D1
Elevation: 9,700
Aspect: S
Coordinates: 45.3508, -111.4000
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Obs from Beehive 11/25: "Lots of moving snow on south facing aspects. most of the chutes to the [lookers] right of the (4th of July couloir) had slid, it looked like it was mostly limited releases from sun warmed rocks."

GNFAC Forecaster at Bridger on 11/25 saw natural rollerballs and pinwheels on steep, rocky south facing terrain. (photo).


More Avalanche Details

Relevant Photos

Displaying 1 - 23
  • Toured up to the NE shoulder on Mt. Blackmore yesterday. Winds were strong and variable, but mostly gusting from the S-SW. A lot of snow was moving around, skin tracks were filled in very quickly, and you could actively see small cornices starting to build on the lee side of the ridge. Photo: H. Darby

  • Saw a group of skiers trigger a small wind slab avalanche on an eastern aspect at around 8,300' in the main fork of Hyalite in "Candy Land" just south of the climb Big League Chew at 2:00pm on Saturday (11/26). Crown looked to be around 2" to 1' and 90' wide. The slide ran maybe 100'. No skiers were caught. Photo: Anon

  • Saw a group of skiers trigger a small wind slab avalanche on an eastern aspect at around 8,300' in the main fork of Hyalite in "Candy Land" just south of the climb Big League Chew at 2:00pm on Saturday (11/26). Crown looked to be around 2" to 1' and 90' wide. The slide ran maybe 100'. No skiers were caught. Photo: Anon.

  • From BSSP Observations: "A wind slab triggered near the top of Cold Springs ran down and triggered a persistent slab around constriction level (see pics). This deeper failure occurred about 20cm off the ground at the Oct/Nov interface in a snowpack that was only about 1m deep." Photo BSSP

  • From BSSP Observations: "A wind slab triggered near the top of Cold Springs ran down and triggered a persistent slab around constriction level (see pics). This deeper failure occurred about 20cm off the ground at the Oct/Nov interface in a snowpack that was only about 1m deep." Photo BSSP

  • Crown of skier triggered slide at Bridger on 11/27: "NE face. Rollover around 35 degrees mellowing throughout the run. The face had tracks from earlier today before i triggered the slide. I was able to self arrest and stop myself before being carried. The crown was around 20-25 ft wide and the slide ran roughly 100ft downhill before stopping. Both myself and my partner skied away unharmed."

  • From observations: "The snow was getting warm on my way up 4th of July couloir (pinwheels coming off lookers right wall started around 11:30) top half took a long time due to deep snow so I was suspicious of the pinch. Ski cut it during the descent (12:30p) and set off a wet slide (point release) that picked up quite a bit of steam as it came out the bottom. Big enough to injure/bury a skier." Photo: Anonymous

  • At 1:30pm on 11/23 I intentionally triggered a fresh drift of snow in a narrow avalanche path along the edge of the north bowl at Bridger. Northeast aspect at 7,600’ elevation. The crown was 6-8” deep consisting of snow that fell today, 20’ wide and ran 250’ vertical. SS-ASc-R2-D1.5-I. Photo: GNFAC

  • At 1:30pm on 11/23 I intentionally triggered a fresh drift of snow in a narrow avalanche path along the edge of the north bowl at Bridger. Northeast aspect at 7,600’ elevation. The crown was 6-8” deep consisting of snow that fell today, 20’ wide and ran 250’ vertical. SS-ASc-R2-D1.5-I. Photo: GNFAC

  • Big Sky ski patrol triggered these slides with explosives on 11/22 during routine avalanche mitigation work. The avalanches were hard slabs that averaged 12" deep and broke on a weak layer above a crust on top of snow that fell in October. Photo: BSSP

  • Big Sky ski patrol triggered these slides with explosives on 11/22 during routine avalanche mitigation work. The avalanches were hard slabs that averaged 12" deep and broke on a weak layer above a crust on top of snow that fell in October. Photo: BSSP

  • From IG message: "We saw a few decent sized point releases in the same zone on Sunday, 11/20, the day after the wind slab. All occurred on SW aspect within approx 15 min at 2:30. The air temp rose noteably shortly before and the sun was baking the SW aspect. Wind slab from 11/19 is on the far right, two point releases on the left". Photo: M. Zenker

  • Toured into divide basin on Friday. Looking at the north face of hyalite peak we saw a slide that went to the ground, and was about 150 feet wide. It possible this slide propagated further, but severe wind loading was actively occurring and it was hard to tell if the crown had been filled back in. We dug a pit at 9300 feet on a SÉ aspect and found a 80-100 cm HS and right side up snow pack with minor faceting below a crust 30 cm from the bottom. 

  • This natural avalanche of wind blown snow narrowly missed hitting two skiers.

    Photo: Anonymous

  • Photo: @M. Stem

  • From obs: "Skied Hyalite Peak today and found a wind slab ~10cm deep. Ski cut a small cornice below the main face and broke a small slide that carried ~20’ with little energy with a ~25’ wide crown" Photo: C. Crowe

  • From obs: "Photos of a small wind slab avalanche (R1 D1)  from yesterday at approximately 7800 feet on the northern end of bradleys meadow. The slide was initiated by the second skier and although the rest of the slope was <30 degrees the starting zone was a NE facing steep cross loaded wind pillow just below the ridge. 

    As my friend was skiing down he saw a crack propagate up and to his left and was able to stop on the side of the path as the snow ran past him. The  crown was approximately 30-40 feet and ran about 100 feet." Photo: G. Roe

  • From IG: "Remotely skier trigger wind slab up on white worm near sac bowl". Photo: C. Howell

  • While traveling up the Fairy Lake road, we observed the aftermath of an avalanche in October Bowl. The avalanche was D2-D3, start zone was at approximately 9000 ft, north east aspect, crown depth and width is unknown. Photo: H. Bigos-Lowe

  • Skiers found a thin snowpack that is beginning to weaken (facet). Read observation here. Photo: T McCutcheon.

  • Skiers in Beehive Basin noted small wind drifts forming as they toured. Slopes loaded by wind-drifted snow are the most likely place to trigger an avalanche right now. Photo: C Ellingson

  • The Headwaters Snow Stake at Big Sky Resort was buried in new snow on Sunday. 

  • Evidence of wind-loading creating the conditions for avalanches in the Bridger Range. Cracking is an indicator of instability. The observer noted this was "Nothing consequential," but this shows that unstable drifts are forming. They will be more consequential where there is more snow and as the wind creates larger drifts. Photo: E Smith

WebCams


8800' Camera, Lone Peak view

Yellowstone Club, Timberline Chair

Snowpit Profiles- Northern Madison

 

Select a snowpit on the map to view the profile image

Weather Forecast Northern Madison

Extended Forecast for

5 Miles NNW Big Sky MT

Winter Storm Warning until December 2, 12:00pmClick here for hazard details and duration Winter Storm Warning
  •  Winter Storm Warning until December 2, 12:00pm

    NOW until
    12:00pm Fri

    Winter Storm Warning

  • This
    Afternoon

    This Afternoon: Snow likely.  Widespread blowing snow. Cloudy, with a high near 23. Windy, with a south southwest wind around 37 mph, with gusts as high as 49 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 70%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

    Snow Likely
    and Blowing
    Snow

    High: 23 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Snow, mainly before 4am. The snow could be heavy at times.  Widespread blowing snow, mainly before 11pm. Low around 2. Wind chill values as low as -15. Windy, with a southwest wind 27 to 32 mph becoming west 16 to 21 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 44 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 7 inches possible.

    Heavy Snow
    and Blowing
    Snow

    Low: 2 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: A 20 percent chance of snow before 9am.  Patchy blowing snow between 8am and 11am. Cloudy through mid morning, then gradual clearing, with a high near 7. Wind chill values as low as -20. West wind 15 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow and
    Patchy
    Blowing Snow
    then Mostly
    Sunny

    High: 7 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: Patchy blowing snow after 11pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 2. Wind chill values as low as -20. Breezy, with a south southwest wind 15 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph.

    Patchy
    Blowing Snow
    and Breezy

    Low: 2 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: Patchy blowing snow. Mostly sunny, with a high near 18. Breezy, with a southwest wind around 24 mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph.

    Patchy
    Blowing Snow
    and Breezy

    High: 18 °F

  • Saturday
    Night

    Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 5. South southwest wind 14 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 5 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: A 40 percent chance of snow, mainly after 11am.  Partly sunny, with a high near 21. Southwest wind around 14 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    High: 21 °F

  • Sunday
    Night

    Sunday Night: Snow likely.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 11. Southwest wind around 10 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

    Snow Likely

    Low: 11 °F

The Last Word

Your field observations are hugely helpful as we build a picture of snowpack stability. Let us know if it was a beautiful day or snowy, deep powder, avalanches seen or just boring riding. Submit your observations on our new page or read them all here.

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