Regional Conditions for Centennial Range

as of 5:00 am
Today0″ | N/A
Apr 11 0″ | NA
Apr 10 0″ | NA
8775′     1/29 at 3:00
24 ℉
N - 0 mph
Gusts 0 mph
7750′   04/12 at 8:00
20℉
51″ Depth
Bottom Line: The snowpack in the mountains around Bozeman, Big Sky, West Yellowstone and Cooke City is generally stable. If this week’s forecast holds, avalanches will remain unlikely outside of isolated drifts of fresh snow sitting on top of a thick crust forming with cooler temperatures. Manage these isolated instabilities by consistently following safe travel protocols, skiing or riding with a partner, and carrying a beacon, probe, and shovel. Assess steep terrain for features such as rocks, trees and cliffs that increase the consequences of small avalanches.
Primary Problem: Wind-Drifted Snow

Snow Observations- Centennial Range & Lionhead

Centennial Range
Sawtelle Peak
West of Sawtelle Peak
Incident details include images

Surface was boiler plate leaving Island Park. We rode up high to the ridge (9200’) to the west of Sawtelle Peak and dug on a NE facing slope, 9,200', 6' of snow on the ground. Weak, sugary snow is on the surface (near-surface facet) and the main issue with the new snow. The new snow won't stick to the old surface and avalanches will be likely. Sugary depth hoar facets are still felt in the bottom 40 cm but it’s stable for now. Snowpack is very similar to Lionhead. Danger is Low today, but when the new snow arrives through the weekend the avalanche danger will rise.  I imagine it will not bond on many slopes and it will not be obvious where the NSF will be buried.  Tomorrow will be vastly different than today.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
Centennials - Idaho
Centennials: poor stability

I haven’t gotten a chance to write up my observations from the Centennial’s last Saturday but with this storm that’s occurring down there I thought it was important to reach out and let you know what I saw. The melt freeze crust from a few weeks ago and the rain crust from earlier in the season are still very present in the snow pack. There is about a 2 inch slab on top of the newest melt freeze crust that fractured on isolation. Should be a sporty couple days down in the centennials.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
Centennials - Montana
Hellroaring

Observed 125 cm snow at 8200' on NE aspect. ECT showed propagation on each crust. South aspect at 7500' had ~65cm snow depth with similar crust but less reactivity. In general observed poor structure and poor strength everywhere.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
CENTENNIAL RANGE
Tin Cup Pass-Mt. Jefferson-Centennials
Incident details include images

Snow above the rain crust is starting to become more of a cohesive slab. No recent avalanches were observed.

Full Snow Observation Report
Cooke City
Republic Creek
Republic Creek, Woody Ridge Zone 2

We did a short tour yesterday in the middle of the storm into the Republic Creek drainage. Skies were overcast with light to heavy snow falling at times. Winds were gusting at times 60-80 mph, enough to blow you over if you weren't careful. Variable snowpack, wet and heavy down low until about 8800 feet then it got colder and less dense but was blowing around all over the place. The new snow was setting up very slabby in places with cracking expanding outward from the skin track and storm snow easily sliding at every kick turn. We did not dig a pit and instead opted to bail out at about 9400 feet and ski tighter trees back down to the creek bottom and home. The winds had stripped snow on the windward side with some larger drifts on the leeward side. However, in the basin, winds were coming from every direction at times. Not a very scientific observation but wanted to share what it was like in the storm up there yesterday. Caution really needs to be practiced as there are dense storm slabs sitting on large surface hoar/facets that had setup from the days of high pressure and winds may have deposited large amounts of snow in places.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
CENTENNIAL RANGE
Tin Cup Pass-Mt. Jefferson-Centennials
Incident details include images

Rain crust is still very present in the snowpack. Two natural slab avalanches on north aspect of Reas Peak, one from recent storm and one from previous storm. Photo is from a snowmobile triggered avalanche from 1/9/21, you can see the party and one of the members riding the adjacent slope. Snowpit attached as well.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
Tin Cup Creek/Willow Creek Drainage

Yesterday I snowmobiled form the Keg Springs trailhead to Tin Cup Pass on Willow Creek. From the limited visibility we did not see any natural avalanche activity. We dug one pit on the Idaho side of the Centennials and found the total snow depth was 70cm and there were 2 distinct crusts in the snowpack and a fair amount of depth hoar. The pit profile was as follows:

70cm-55cm First Hardness
54cm-50cm 4 Finger
49cm-48cm Knife
47cm-25cm Fist (facets)
24cm-23cm Knife
22cm-0cm Fist (depth hoar)

Test Results: ECTN 12@49CM, ECTN 14@24CM

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
Centennials - Idaho
Island Park South West Aspect Tyler Creek Area
Incident details include images

Seemingly unsafe snowpack here in island park. A few very firm crust layers. One facet layer near the base which propagated. Two crust layers, both knife hardness, were stacked in each other with a small amount of facets between them. This layer went on CTE 8. I wasn't able to attach it but I will send it separately. We weren't in avalanche terrain today so there were no other observations.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
CENTENNIAL RANGE
Near Sawtelle Peak
Incident details include images

Road cut south facing slope of 42 degrees, triggered intentionally by a guide, shows about 12 inches of windblown soft slab on top of a faceted layer (in this case more extreme due to aspect and inclination toward the sun) but was triggered only by chopping a hand into the snow a few times. This same faceted layer (the uppermost layer of a thick faceted layer of 1-2 fee) exists throughout the snowpack.

Also, the bottom-most layers of snow are very faceted and conditions have not occurred yet to set the snow for a base. Walking around your feet go right to the ground even in areas where snow is 2+ feet deep. There are many rock/tree hazards lurking under the soft snow because of this, two people in our group damaged their a-arms.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
CENTENNIAL RANGE
Near Sawtelle Peak
Incident details include images

Lower elevation plateau with low snow accumulation due to consistent wind-scouring, consists of about a foot of faceted snow with a dense wind-blown slab on top.

Full Snow Observation Report

Avalanche Activity- Centennial Range & Lionhead

Out of Advisory Area
Other place
Natural wind slabs in Absaroka
Incident details include images
Other place
SS-N-R1-D1
Aspect: NE
Coordinates: 45.4959, -110.4490
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From obs 4/9/21: "we saw widespread natural wind slabs on N-NE eastern slopes in the Northern Absarokas (photo)...."


More Avalanche Details
Cooke City
Miller Ridge
Collapse in wet snow near Cooke
Incident details include images
Miller Ridge
Elevation: 9,000
Aspect: S
Coordinates: 45.0423, -109.9650
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Skiers had a collapse which made this crack on a south facing slope with a shallower, wet snowpack around 9,000' near Cooke City.


More Avalanche Details
Out of Advisory Area
Other place
Wet Slab in Main Boulder
Incident details include images
Other place
WS-N-R2-D2-O
Elevation: 8,200
Coordinates: 45.6553, -110.5580
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

A wet slab was reported on 4/4/21 around 8,200' elevation in the Main Boulder drainage south of Big Timber, outside of our advisory area. It happened that day or very recently during extended above freezing temperatures. 


More Avalanche Details

Photos- Centennial Range & Lionhead

Displaying 1 - 40
  • From obs 4/9/21: "...we saw widespread natural wind slabs on N-NE eastern slopes in the Northern Absarokas (photo). Winds increased throughout the morning, and evidence of wind transport became more apparent at higher elevations. We found that on aspects unaffected by wind loading, the new snow layer was not cohesive and only saw minor sluffing." Photo: E. Schreier

  • Skiers had a collapse which made this crack on a south facing slope with a shallower, wet snowpack around 9,000' near Cooke City. Photo: J. Redfield

  • This wet slab was reported on 4/4/21 around 8,200' elevation in the Main Boulder drainage south of Big Timber, outside of our advisory area. It happened that day or very recently during extended above freezing temperatures. Photo: G. Smith

  • Extreme winds on 3/28/21 transported snow that fell over the past week into fresh wind slabs. Photo: BSSP

  • From obs 3/28/21: "Saw this slope which frequently slides had been triggered on our way out last night [lower left in photo]. Slid to the ground but I expect it was mostly new snow as there is a larger old crown visible further uphill... I did see two other small pocket slides yesterday also in new snow on bed surfaces of older slides... General snowpack is getting very deep now but a thick junk layer remains at the ground everywhere I dug sleds out." Photo: J. Gerardi

  • From obs: "Deep slab avalanche in Blackmore Basin that appeared to break on the depth hoar near the bottom of the snowpack. It was on a wind loaded NE facing slope at approx. 9,500 and looked to break on a slope in the 35-40 degree range. The crown was about 8'-10' deep and 200' wide. It broke to the ground and ripped out several small trees." Photo: JR Mooney

  • Ian and Dave stop to do a quick stability test as they hunt for a layer of weak snow 1-2 feet under the surface. Photo: GNFAC

  • From obs: "On our way up the summer trail route to Hyalite Peak our party of three remotely triggered a small avalanche from the skin track at around 9,600ft on a east facing aspect. The storm slab went about 4 inches deep and 150-200ft across a small roll over feature. We were about 150ft away when we triggered the slide." Photo: C. Kussmaul

  • The snowpack in the Centennials is remarkably similar to the Lionhead area outside West Yellowstone: 6 feet of snow at 9,200 feet. The stability will get worse with snow this weekend (19-21 March) because the surface snow is week and the new snow will not bond to it (near-surface facets). Photo: GNFAC

  • Seen from near Ennis on 3/4/21. On Finger Mountain in the southern Madison Range. Photo: D. Frohman

  • We saw these recent wet loose avalanches on 3/6/21. SW aspect, 9,100'. They likely ran during above freezing temperatures between 3/3 and 3/5. Photo: GNFAC

  • From obs: "Small D1 avalanche on south-eastern aspect around 7800ft. Looks like solar released on older layer a day or two ago."

    Photo: M. Mailly

  • From obs: "While touring above the canyon this morning, I noticed a very recent wet slide (would guess this incident occurred yesterday afternoon, March 4th). This was a skier triggered slide on a E aspect at an elevation of 7200. This slide was roughly 50 feet wide and ran about 50 feet, I estimated this crown to be 2-3 feet deep, slid all the way to the ground. This occurred below a steep roller."

    Photo: T. Saulnier

  • Wet loose avalanches released in the warm sunshine on Tuesday, March 2nd. We expect many more in the coming days. Photo: S. Jonas

  • Sled Skiing in Third Yellow mule... after an air onto the slope the impact from landing resulted in a fracture and failure to / near the ground... in addition, a remote trigger occurred on adjacent slope... 200-300 ft to the skiers right. No body was caught in either slide. Skier that initiated failure was moving at high speed and was beyond slide path before majority of snow movement began. Photo: W. Miller

  • Sled Skiing in Third Yellow mule... after an air onto the slope the impact from landing resulted in a fracture and failure to / near the ground... in addition, a remote trigger occurred on adjacent slope... 200-300 ft to the skiers right. No body was caught in either slide. Skier that initiated failure was moving at high speed and was beyond slide path before majority of snow movement began. Photo: W. Miller

  • Sled Skiing in Third Yellow mule... after an air onto the slope the impact from landing resulted in a fracture and failure to / near the ground... in addition, a remote trigger occurred on adjacent slope... 200-300 ft to the skiers right. No body was caught in either slide. Photo: W. Miller

  • This avalanche was triggered on Sunday, 2/28, when a skier released another slide 2-300 feet away. It broke at the same time. No one was caught. This was in the Third Yellow Mule on Buck Ridge.  Photo: W. Miller

  • Riders triggered this slide on 2/28/21 near Red Canyon/Cabin Creek, north of West Yellowstone. Nobody caught or injured, but close call.

  • Riders triggered this slide on 2/28/21 near Red Canyon/Cabin Creek, north of West Yellowstone. Nobody caught or injured, but close call.

  • Riders triggered this slide on 2/28/21 near Red Canyon/Cabin Creek, north of West Yellowstone. Nobody caught or injured, but close call.

  • Riders triggered this slide on 2/28/21 near Red Canyon/Cabin Creek, north of West Yellowstone. Nobody caught or injured, but close call.

  • There was 6' of snow off the ridge in the Bridger Range on an east facing slope. The top 2 feet were recent wind drifting that broke clean in our stability test which indicated unstable conditions (ECTP18). We expect similar conditions and instability with wind-loaded slops throughout our forecast area. Photo: GNFAC

  • In the last 24 hours (2/28) 12" of low density powder and 40-50 mph west wind made it easy to trigger wind-drifted snow. Alex kicked these drifts which cracked and moved. We expect similar conditions and instability with wind-loaded slops throughout our forecast area. Photo: GNFAC

  • This natural avalanche occurred on a slope that was wind drifted with cross-slope winds. It was a NE facing slope at 9,000 feet and likely ran over the weekend (2/20). Photo: GNFAC

  • This natural avalanche was likely triggered by a falling cornince in the last day or two. The slope is in the Wilderness and was seen from the boundary. Wind drifted snow is a concern in this area. Photo: GNFAC

  • On 2/13/21 riders reported they triggered this avalanche, and remotely triggered two other slides. Nobody was injured. One partially buried.

  • On 2/13/21 riders reported they triggered this avalanche, and remotely triggered two other slides. Nobody was injured. One partially buried.

  • Sledders triggered this slide on 2/6/21 in West Targhee Creek near Lionhead. No one was caught.

  • A snowmobiler triggered this avalanche on Monday (2/1/2021) at Lionhead. No one was caught. Photo: Anonymous

  • A snowmobiler triggered this avalanche on Monday (2/1/2021) at Lionhead. No one was caught. Photo: Anonymous

  • This small avalanche was below the corner of Lionhead peak. It was one of the smaller slides during the avalanche cycle that occurred 1/29 and 1/30. Photo: GNFAC

  • The avalanche broke in the new snow, but stepped down into deeper layers (sugary facets) mid-path. This can occur when there are multiple weak layers in the snowpack. Photo: GNFAC

  • Every path along the shoulder of Targhee Peak (Lionhead area) avalanched naturally during the storm 1/29 and 1/30. Photo: GNFAC

  • This steep north facing slope avalanched about 3 weeks ago on depth hoar when a snowmobiler triggered it. It got reloaded with new snow and wind drifts and avalanched a second time! Photo: GNFAC

  • This natural avalanche occured on a NE facing slope at 8600". It was 2' deep, 500' wide and 250' vertical. The avalanche broke on a thin layer of facets during the storm. SS-N-R3-D2-O. Photo: GNFAC

  • On the north end of Lionhead Ridge is Airplane Bowl. The crown line extends across the entire bowl on the right with a separate avalanche on the left. Photo: GNFAC

  • Take a close look at the picture and you'll see crowns from the far left to the far right of the photograph. Photo: GNFAC

  • Many avalanches broke under the new snow and also deeper on facets. These natural slides occurred on 1/29 and 1/30. Photo: GNFAC

  • Stepping out of my skis I sunk to the ground. The snowpack is weak and unsupportable. Large grains of sugary facets (depth hoar) make up the bottom third of the snowpack. Photo: GNFAC

Videos- Centennial Range & Lionhead

Weather Forecast- Centennial Range

Extended Forecast for

10 Miles ESE Lakeview MT

  • Today

    Today: Mostly sunny, with a high near 31. North northeast wind 11 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.

    Mostly Sunny

    High: 31 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 14. Wind chill values as low as zero. Northeast wind 15 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 14 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 32. Wind chill values as low as -5. Northeast wind 17 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.

    Mostly Sunny

    High: 32 °F

  • Tuesday
    Night

    Tuesday Night: A 20 percent chance of snow after midnight.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 16. Northeast wind 16 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.

    Mostly Cloudy
    then Slight
    Chance Snow

    Low: 16 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: Snow.  High near 32. North northeast wind 15 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of around an inch possible.

    Snow

    High: 32 °F

  • Wednesday
    Night

    Wednesday Night: Snow likely.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 20. North northeast wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Snow Likely

    Low: 20 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: Snow likely, mainly before noon.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 34. North northeast wind 10 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Snow Likely

    High: 34 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: A chance of snow, mainly before midnight.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 21. North wind around 11 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

    Chance Snow

    Low: 21 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: A chance of snow, mainly after noon.  Partly sunny, with a high near 37.

    Chance Snow

    High: 37 °F

The Last Word

Snow will be around the mountains for a month or two and avalanches will continue. When warm temperatures return, wet snow hazards will increase. If there are big spring snowstorms, dangerous conditions may develop for new snow avalanches and wind slabs. With either extended warming or a big storm, there is still a lingering possibility of deep avalanches breaking on weak, sugary snow near the ground. See this article for some general spring travel advice.