Regional Conditions for Centennial Range

as of 5:00 am
Today3″ | 10-30 SW
Jan 26 0″ | 10-15 N
Jan 25 0″ | NA
8775′     1/25 at 4:00
4 ℉
N - 0 mph
Gusts 0 mph
7750′   01/27 at 8:00
16℉
Depth
Bottom Line: The snowpack from Lionhead through the Bridger Range is shallow with a distinct layer of weak, depth hoar near the ground and a stripe of feathery surface hoar buried under 6-18" of snow. It will take weeks or months to trust these layers fully, but they are adjusting to the current load and avalanches are less likely. Stability is currently similar in these ranges but today's snowfall will heavily favor the mountains around West Yellowstone. As the snow begins to add up, stability will decrease.
Primary Problem: Persistent Weak Layer

Snow Observations- Centennial Range & Lionhead

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
Centennial Range
Ski Hill
Getting worse at Lionhead and Centennials

Both the Lionhead area and the nearby Centennial Range in Idaho have a similar snowpack. About 20-25" are on the ground consisting of weak, faceted, sugary snow. Riding is supportable, but we tiptoed around Lionhead because of rocks.Snow and wind are forecasted in the oming week. This snowpack will become unstable quickly. I expect to see cracking, whumpfs and recent avalanche activity. Small avalanhes on road cuts or creek banks are bulls-eye data that big avalanches are likely. Be careful, pay attention and stay clear of creeks and other terrain traps where even a small slide can be deadly. We made a video that outlines our concern which is posted on the Centennials page.

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

Observed 24" of snow in leeward aspects at an elevation of 7700'. West faces above 7000' appeared scoured and bare to the ground, limited coverage. In sheltered south facing areas where snow hadn't been scoured, a stout breakable crust existed near the surface. Old snow snow was faceted to the ground, ski poles easily penetrating dirt. Below 7000' skiing was not possible due to low coverage, relegating our party to skin on the summer trailhead in and out of Hellroaring.

Full Snow Observation Report

Avalanche Activity- Centennial Range & Lionhead

Lionhead Range
LIONHEAD AREA
Natural avalanches near Lionhead Ridge
Incident details include images
LIONHEAD AREA
SS-N-R2-D2-O
Elevation: 9,000
Aspect: SE
Coordinates: 44.7292, -111.3230
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

On 1/23/21 we saw a couple recent natural avalanche crown on Bald Peak near Lionhead Ridge. Estimated 2-3 days old.


More Avalanche Details
Lionhead Range
Lionhead Ridge
Many snowmobile triggered slides at Lionhead
Incident details include images
Incident details contain video
Lionhead Ridge
SS-AMu-R2-D2-O
Elevation: 9,000
Coordinates: 44.7145, -111.3180
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Many snowmobile triggered avalanches were observed after new snow overloaded a very weak snowpack.


More Avalanche Details
Centennial Range
CENTENNIAL RANGE
Sledder triggered slide and 2 naturals in Centennials
Incident details include images
CENTENNIAL RANGE
SS-AM-R2-D2
Coordinates: 44.5476, -111.5250
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From obs: "...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."


More Avalanche Details

Photos- Centennial Range & Lionhead

Displaying 1 - 19
  • We saw this natural avalanche on 1/23/21. It likely occurred in the past week. SE aspect at 9,200', Photo: GNFAC

  • A snowmobiler triggered slide on the east side of Lionhead Ridge to the north of Airplane Bowl. Photo: Photo: D. Haluptzok

  • A snowmobiler triggered slide on the east side of Lionhead Ridge adjacent to a slope called Dead Tree Hill. Photo: D. Haluptzok

  • From obs: "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." Photo: C. Hericks

  • We remotely triggered (from 30' away) this avalanche at Ski Hill in the Lionhead area. These are red-flags! Stay off of and out from under steep slopes until the avalanche conditions improve. Photo: GNFAC

  • We triggered this avalanche from 50 feet away. We were walking on a low-angle slope, collapsed the slope, and where the pitch got steeper, we had an avalanche. This is an obvious sign of dangerous instability. If you are on steep slopes it is LIKELY that you will trigger an avalanche. Today, we triggered two avalanches. Photo: GNFAC

  • A skier kicked off a larger than expected cornice as they skinned up the ridge on the W side of Beehive basin on Sunday (12/20/20).

  • Doug intentionally triggered this wind-loaded sidehill. Weak, faceted snow broke under a 1' deep soft slab of windblown snow. Small avalanches like this are indicators of instability on bigger slopes. These conditions can be found throughout the southern Gallatin, southern Madison, Lionhead and Centennial Ranges. Photo: GNFAC

  • We put up the Taylor Fork Weather station today. It measures wind direction and speed, RH, and temperature. Coupled with the Carrot Basin SNOTEL, this gives us a good idea on what is occurring in this range. Photo GNFAC

  • Light wind created soft drifts of new, low density snow near the ridgeline in the Bridger Range. This wind slab easily cracked when touched with skis, 20 feet along the ridge and 5-10 feet down, but didn't slide. This is a sign drifts will be unstable as they grow with more snow and wind. Photo: GNFAC

  • From IG post: "Weak and thin snowpack. A little sluff was all it took to entrain the whole season’s snowpack. S. Madison ~9000’ east facing" Photo: @vt.to.mt

  • From IG post: "Weak and thin snowpack. A little sluff was all it took to entrain the whole season’s snowpack. S. Madison ~9000’ east facing" Photo: @vt.to.mt

  • We found a thick layer of surface hoar (1-2cm) on top of the snowpack at Lionhead Ridge on 11/24/20. Below that layer the snowpack was faceted and weak. This will be an unstable foundation for future storms. Photo: GNFAC

  • Watch the video HERE!

  • The BBWC (Bridger Bowl Wind Cloud) on Tuesday 10/27 accompanied 50-60 mph gusts. This strong wind drifted recent snow into slabs that could avalanche on steep slopes. Early season snow means we need to be thinking about and managing avalanche hazard when we travel in the mountains. Photo: GNFAC

  • Backcountry.com did a social media survey and found that many of us could use an avalanche class. Don't hesitate to sign up for one. Even a one-hour avalanche awareness class is a great place to start. Check out our Education Calendar for an expanding list of classes being offered in southwest Montana. Many are free.

  • Wind was blowing and drifting recent snow in the Bridger Range the morning of October 15th. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • Snow on Lone Mtn. on the morning of October 14th. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • By morning of October 11 most mountain ranges were white at the higher elevations. This picture of Saddle Peak was taken from Stone Creek up Bridger Canyon. About .6-.8" of precipitation fell throughout southwest Montana. The Fisher Creek Snotel outside of Cooke City shows 6" of snow fell at 9,100 feet. Only time will tell what melts and what sticks around, but it sure is a good sign! Photo: GNFAC

Weather Forecast- Centennial Range

Extended Forecast for

10 Miles ESE Lakeview MT

Winter Weather Advisory until January 28, 05:00pm
Click here for hazard details and duration
Winter Weather Advisory
  •  
    Winter Weather Advisory until January 28, 05:00pm

    NOW until
    5:00pm Thu

    Winter Weather Advisory

  • Today

    Today: Snow. The snow could be heavy at times.  Areas of blowing snow. High near 19. Wind chill values as low as -10. Breezy, with a south wind 22 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 36 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 90%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 3 to 7 inches possible.

    Heavy Snow
    and Areas
    Blowing Snow

    High: 19 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Snow. The snow could be heavy at times.  Patchy blowing snow before 5am. Low around 17. Wind chill values as low as zero. South wind 17 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 5 to 9 inches possible.

    Heavy Snow
    and Patchy
    Blowing Snow

    Low: 17 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: Snow.  Patchy blowing snow before 8am, then patchy blowing snow after 10am. High near 26. South wind 16 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible.

    Snow and
    Patchy
    Blowing Snow

    High: 26 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: Snow likely.  Cloudy, with a low around 25. South wind 14 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.

    Snow Likely

    Low: 25 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: Snow.  High near 27. South southwest wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.

    Snow

    High: 27 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: Snow likely, mainly before 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 18. South southwest wind around 11 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

    Snow Likely

    Low: 18 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: A 50 percent chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 22. South wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    High: 22 °F

  • Saturday
    Night

    Saturday Night: A slight chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 16. South wind 10 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow

    Low: 16 °F

The Last Word