GNFAC Avalanche Forecast for Fri Nov 1, 2019

Not the Current Forecast

This is Dave Zinn with pre-season avalanche, weather and event information for the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center on Friday, November 1st. This information is sponsored by Cooke City Super 8/Bearclaw Bob’s and Montana State Parks.

*Note: Bridger Bowl Ski Area is closed and there is no avalanche control or ski patrol services. Backcountry conditions exist. Workers are setting up for the season and making snow. Please stay clear of work areas, snow guns, chair lifts and other equipment.

Mountain Weather

The last week of October decided to dress up as January for Halloween. By Tuesday morning, the Bridger Range received 14” of snow with 2-4” elsewhere. Skies cleared during the week, winds were 15-30 mph from the northeast to west, and temperatures hit negative 20 F at the Flanders Mountain weather station on Tuesday. Last night, the mountains received 1-5” of snow, winds were 10-20 mph from the west to northwest, and temperatures were in the teens.

Lingering flurries will end this morning, and the skies will clear. Mountain winds will increase to 15-30 mph Saturday, with temperatures in the 20s, and our next chance for measurable precipitation will come Sunday afternoon. The mountains around Bozeman and Big Sky will get 2-4,” and Cooke City will receive 5-8” by Monday morning.

We will update our Weather Log and Regional Conditions every morning with snowfall totals, and our Avalanche Activity list if we get a report.

Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion

All Regions

New snow, wind, and avalanche activity was the story this week. We observed and received reports of new snow avalanches and wind slabs releasing in the Bridger and Northern Gallatin Ranges (Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3). Instabilities from the last storm will be harder to find, but with 1-5” of snow last night (0.1-0.3” SWE) and winds forecast to increase again on Saturday, we expect to see an uptick in activity this weekend. Yesterday, we were pleasantly surprised by the limited effects of this week’s cold temperatures on the snowpack structure thus far (video). While we found generally stable structures in our pits this week, we have limited information this time of year. Skiers near the Hourglass north of Bridger Bowl were surprised yesterday when their Extended Column Test propagated a failure indicating instability (Snowpit). This weekend, examine how the new snow is bonding to the old surface, avoid recently wind loaded slopes, and, given the consequences of the Halloween tricks, do your homework before looking for your treats.

Yesterday before we went on our tour, the forecasting team pulled first aid, repair, and survival equipment from our packs to share ideas and check its condition. Watch the video of Ian running us through a check of our avalanche rescue equipment. It is time to go through pre-season gear checks with your partners and plan your avalanche education for the year (Education Calendar).  

We are preparing for winter, setting up weather stations and collecting snowpack information. If you have avalanche, snowpack or weather observations to share, please submit them via our website, email (mtavalanche@gmail.com), 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 and plan to attend one or two: Events and Education Calendar.

BOZEMAN

6 November, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness, 6-7pm @ REI Bozeman.

7 November, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness, 6-7pm @ Langford Hall, MSU.

12 November, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness, 6-7pm @ Montana Ski Tuning and Boot Fitters.

14 November, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness, 6-7pm @ South Hedges Hall, MSU.

14 November, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness, 6-7pm @ Uphill Pursuits.

20 November, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness, 6-7pm @ The Mountain Project.

4 & 5 December, Introduction to Avalanche w/ Field Course, Evenings of December 4 & 5 plus one field day either December 7, 8 or 14. Snowmobile specific field day offered December 14. More info and Register Here.

HELENA

6 November, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness, 6-7pm @ The Base Camp in Helena.

23 November, Helena Snowdrifters, Avalanche Awareness and Partner Rescue Training, 9am-3pm at the Mako Building in Helena.

BILLINGS

19 November, 1-hr Avalanche Awareness, 6-7pm @ The Base Camp in Billings.

The Last Word

Our education calendar is full of awareness lectures and field courses. Check it out and plan to attend one or two: Events and Education Calendar.