Trip Planning for Bridgers

as of 5:00 am
Today0″ | 29-40 W
Jan 16 0″ | 20-50 W
Jan 15 0″ | 15-30 W
8100′     01/17 at 21:00
32℉
0″New
8500′   01/17 at 21:00
30℉
W - 13mph
Gusts 34mph
Bottom Line: Don’t discard your backcountry travel protocols on days like today when avalanches are unlikely. These protocols are what we use to hedge our bets when entering avalanche terrain. Dig a pit and test the snowpack for isolated instabilities, carry rescue equipment and know how to use it, ride or ski one at a time in avalanche terrain, and manage your terrain choice to minimize the negative effects of a small slide.
Primary Problem: Persistent Weak Layer

Past 5 Days

Thu Jan 13

Low
Fri Jan 14

Low
Sat Jan 15

Low
Sun Jan 16

Low
Today

Low

Relevant Avalanche Activity

Northern Madison
Beehive Basin
Skier triggered cornice beehive basin
Incident details include images
Beehive Basin
SS-NCu-R3-D2-O
Elevation: 9,300
Aspect: E
Coordinates: 45.3379, -111.3990
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From email 1/9/21: "Skier triggered cornice failure avalanche. Broke at skis 10-12 feet from the lip. No one caught or injured."


More Avalanche Details
Bridger Range
BRIDGER RANGE
Small natural and skier triggered storm slabs in Bridgers
Incident details include images
BRIDGER RANGE
SS-N-R1-D1-I
Coordinates: 45.8512, -110.9480
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Skiers in the northern Bridger Range and on the west side reported several natural and skier triggered slides breaking on the interface between the new and old snow. These slides were shallow and small.


More Avalanche Details
Bridger Range
Bradley Meadow
Avalanche north of Bridger, Peter's point
Incident details include images
Bradley Meadow
SS
Elevation: 8,000
Aspect: NE
Coordinates: 45.8322, -110.9280
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

While skinning towards the ramp we witnessed what looked like a natural slide that started right around Pete’s Pinnacle which ran down along the boundary line about 1000 feet. Unknown trigger.


More Avalanche Details

Relevant Photos

Displaying 1 - 40
  • A group in the Wolverine Cirque noted several small wet loose avalanches that occurred during recent warm weather. 

  • A view of Sacajewea Peak from the Fairy Lake road. Evidence of winds are seen on the right shoulder of the peak. Photo: GNFAC

  • Slopes on Hardscabble Peak in the northern Bridger Range show bare slopes that got blown clean by wind. Photo: GNFAC

  • In the northern Bridger Range we dug a pit at 8700 feet on a north facing slope before skiing the chute into the basin. Our stability tests did not break and all evidence pointed to a LOW danger. Photo: GNFAC

  • Settlement rings around the base of trees near Cooke City, January 15, 2022. Photo: B. Fredlund

  • Natural avalanche near Fairy Lake. Observed 1/13/22, likely broke several days prior. Photo: N. Crews

  • Looking up at the Fat Maid from Maid of the Mist basin. Strong winds over the last week have scoured the alpine, exposing lots of rock. Photo: GNFAC

  • Strong wind over the last week created this surface texture in the Bridger Range. Photo: T. Allen

  • From email 1/9/22: "Skier triggered cornice failure avalanche. Broke at skis 10-12 feet from the lip. No one caught or injured."

  • From email 1/9/22: "Skier triggered cornice failure avalanche. Broke at skis 10-12 feet from the lip. No one caught or injured."

  • It was easy to crack the thin wind slabs that formed from strong wind the last 2 days. They were not propagating, but cracking indicated potential instability on wind drifts. Photo: GNFAC

  • Strong wind in the previous 2 days sculpted the snow surface into waves of sastrugi. Photo: GNFAC

  • Wind in the last 2 days gusted 45-70 mph and stripped some starting zones down to dirt in Beehive Basin. Photo: GNFAC

  • A small skier triggered storm slab on the west side of the Bridgers. 1/6/22

    Photo: P. Hinz

  • From email (1/6/22): "Skied the Throne today. New snow instabilities. Higher density snow falling on colder snow. Saw a hand full of naturals all running on the new snow old snow interface."

    Photo: E. Knoff

  • From email (1/6/22): "Skied the Throne today. New snow instabilities. Higher density snow falling on colder snow. Saw a hand full of naturals all running on the new snow old snow interface."

    Photo: E. Knoff

  • From obs: 01/01/22: "Saw a small slide come off the ridge. We dug a pit and the wind slab was 8 inches to a foot and a half. During our snow tests it consistently broke on the week layer around a foot deep." Photo: B. Paulson

  • From obs 1/1/22: "While skinning towards the ramp we witnessed what looked like a natural slide that started right around Pete’s Pinnacle which ran down along the boundary line about 1000 feet. Unknown trigger."

  • Strong ridgetop winds transported snow onto Saddle Peak creating unstable slabs on January 1st. Photo: GNFAC

  • Strong winds on 1/1/2022 formed fresh, soft drifts. These drifts broke and cracked easily, and slid on steep slopes. Photo: GNFAC

  • We saw this natural avalanche on the north summit of Saddle Peak on 1/1/2022. It is one of at least 4 natural avalanches that broke on wind-loaded slopes on Saddle Peak in the past 3-4 days. Recent snow and wind formed slabs over weak facets which makes large avalanches possible to trigger. Photo: BBSP

  • We saw this fresh natural avalanches near Saddle Peak on 1/1/2022. Recent snow and wind formed slabs over weak facets which makes large avalanches possible to trigger. Photo: GNFAC

  • A natural avalanche of wind-loaded snow released in the "Between the Peaks" area of Saddle Peak in the Bridger Range on Christmas Eve or early Christmas morning. Photo: D Wienstein

  • A natural avalanche of wind-loaded snow released in the "Between the Peaks" area of Saddle Peak in the Bridger Range on Christmas Eve or early Christmas morning. Photo: D Wienstein

  • We intentionally triggered this 6-8" deep wind slab on Saddle Peak on December 23, 2021, E aspect at 9,000'. It showed us that recently formed wind slabs were still reactive. This hard slab formed over low density new snow which made it unstable. While not large, these slides will easily push you down and can be harmful if they push you into hazardous obstacles or terrain traps. Photo: GNFAC

  • On December 23, 2021 we went out to Saddle Peak and dug three snowpits. We found a 2-3 foot deep, generally stable snowpack with a lack of unstable buried weak layers. Photo: GNFAC

  • Cornices that formed mid-slope, indicating recent heavy wind-loading in the Bridger Range. Strong southwest wind between 12/18 and 12/19/21 drifted recent snow into hard, pillowy drifts. We avoided these drifts on steep slopes to give them a day or two to stabilize. Photo: GNFAC

  • These pillowy, hard drifts formed from strong southwest wind overnight between 12/18 and 12/19/21 in the Bridger Range. We saw minimal signs of instability, lke whumphing or cracking in these drifts, but avoided these features on steep slopes until they have more time to gain stability. Photo: GNFAC

  • On 12/16/21 A skier in a group of three triggered and was caught in this avalanche next to The Apron at Bridger Bowl. The ski area is closed and backcountry conditions exist. Nobody was injured.

    From e-mail: "We had a group of three skiing up at the Bridger Apron today. We skied a more main slope in the field north of the slope with hidden couloir, snow was very stable and has been getting a lot of tracks. For a second run we skinned up the main slope under hidden and started our run in the trees slightly south of this slope. Not many tracks over there and not a good enough evaluation of the snowpack. We were planning on skiing a northeast facing chute through the trees that had very nice looking snow similar to what we had skiied earlier. I skiied in and had about 3 amazing turns, definitely partially due to the wind loading at this aspect. After three turns my feet were taking out from under me and I got caught in a slide keeping skis perpendicular to slope for 15-20’. This avalanche carried me rapidly and cleared the snow to the rocks below in which I was able to come to a hault and watch the rest of the sluff slide past me. After looking at the conditions after, this windy aspect seemed to have a very faceted layer about 8” down that acted as the crown. No injuries, a lost ski pole in the runout which extended down the slope maybe another 40’. The wind scoop on top and seeing these facets should have been a clear sign prior to skiing. Must be more diligent even in areas of high traffic. When dropping in to ski on first turn or so I remember hearing a possible whumpf."

  • On 12/16/21 A skier in a group of three triggered and was caught in this avalanche near The Apron at Bridger Bowl. The ski area is closed and backcountry conditions exist. Nobody was injured.

  • From IG 12/12/21: @montanamountainmedicine

  • From obs: 12/12/21: "Shooting cracks and whoomphing in wind loaded areas. An approximately 15x30ft wind slab cracked along the base of a rock band and settled at the base of P2 on high fidelity. Was triggered while traversing along the rock band to gain the second pitch, 1-2 inches of facets on the ground. Wind slab of 6-36in in the gullies." Photo: M. Hearley

  • In the Bridger Range on December 10, 2021 2-3" of low density new snow was drifted into small soft slabs that were easy to trigger. Photo: GNFAC

  • This pit was dug in Hyalite Canyon near Twin Falls. It showed 2 mm facets (sugar snow) underlying the snowpack. This layer did not break in stability tests, but anticipate these grains will get weaker with time. Photo: GNFAC

  • For the Bozeman Ice Fest we investigated the Silken Falls and Avalanche Gulch gulleys. They were wind-loaded and had weak snow mid-pack that was unreactive. Avalanches in these gulleys would be deadly, so be extra vigilant in your assessment before crossing. Photo: GNFAC

  • For the Bozeman Ice Fest we investigated the Silken Falls and Avalanche Gulch gulleys. They were wind-loaded and had weak snow mid-pack that was unreactive. Avalanches in these gulleys would be deadly, so be extra vigilant in your assessment before crossing. Photo: GNFAC

  • We found 80 cm (2+ feet) of snow on a NE facing slope at 8,000 feet outside Bridger Bowl's Boundaries. The snow was supportable with a weak layer at the blue card. Faceted, weak, sugary snow is the layer of concern, but it was not that bad...yet. We'll be watching to see if it gets weaker. Photo: GNFAC

  • Monday night's new snow formed wind slabs from the strong wind on Tuesday. We are finding these throughout southwest Montana. Photo: D. Britt

  • New snow was blown into thick drifts that can be triggered by skiers or riders. Cracking like this is a sign that drifts are unstable and could slide on steeper slopes. Photo: GNFAC

  • "Wet slide from [around 12/1/21]. When it was so damn warm. Velma's and Peter's point runout...." Photo: S. Cottom

WebCams


Bridger Base Area

Ridge, Looking North

Alpine Apron

Snowpit Profiles- Bridgers

 

Select a snowpit on the map to view the profile image

Weather Forecast Bridgers

Extended Forecast for

10 Miles NNE Bozeman MT

Winter Weather Advisory January 18, 07:00am until January 19, 03:00pm
Click here for hazard details and duration
Winter Weather Advisory
  • Tonight

    Tonight: A slight chance of snow between midnight and 4am.  Mostly cloudy, with a steady temperature around 34. West wind 18 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 20%.

    Mostly Cloudy
    then Slight
    Chance Snow

    Low: 34 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: Snow likely, mainly after 3pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a temperature falling to around 23 by 5pm. West wind 8 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

    Slight Chance
    Snow then
    Snow Likely

    High: 32 °F

  • Tuesday
    Night

    Tuesday Night: Snow.  Low around 16. West wind around 11 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

    Snow

    Low: 16 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: Snow likely, mainly before 11am.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 23. West wind around 11 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

    Snow Likely
    then Chance
    Snow

    High: 23 °F

  • Wednesday
    Night

    Wednesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 16. Southwest wind 13 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 16 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: A 50 percent chance of snow, mainly after 11am.  Partly sunny, with a high near 31. Southwest wind 16 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    High: 31 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: Snow.  Low around 24. Southwest wind 18 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

    Snow

    Low: 24 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: Snow likely, mainly before 11am.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 29. West southwest wind 15 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.

    Snow Likely

    High: 29 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: A slight chance of snow before 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 16.

    Slight Chance
    Snow then
    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 16 °F

The Last Word

As we wait for the next dump of snow, now is an excellent time to practice avalanche rescue. Are you fast and efficient with your beacon? Is your partner? Even the sharpest knife needs an occasional tune. Check out this BCA video to hone your skills.