Trip Planning for Lionhead Range

as of 5:00 am
Jan 252″ | 15-30 N
Jan 24 0″ | 5-35 NW
Jan 23 0″ | 5-25 NNW
8775′  01/26 at 03:08
W - 14mph
Gusts 21mph
7750′   01/26 at 03:00
Bottom Line: In the Lionhead area along with the Bridger and Northern Madison Ranges 2-3” of snow fell on a mostly stable snowpack. A weak layer of surface hoar is buried under 6” of light snow near West Yellowstone, but similar to areas without the weak layer, this is not enough to pose much of a hazard outside of technical or very steep terrain. Dig and test the upper snowpack and watch for signs of isolated instability such as cracking and expose only one person at a time to avalanche terrain.
Primary Problem: Wind-Drifted Snow

Past 5 Days

Fri Jan 21

Sat Jan 22

Sun Jan 23

Mon Jan 24

Tue Jan 25


Relevant Photos

Displaying 1 - 30
  • Riders in the Lionhead area noted that a layer of feathery surface hoar is continuing to grow. If this gets buried by the next snowstorm it will become a new weak layer. Photo: G Ewsuk

  • Riders reported on 1/15/22: "Some surface hoar is forming on nearly every aspect at all elevations. over 1 cm thick in some areas." Photo: B. Rasmussen

  • Riders reported on 1/15/22: "Some surface hoar is forming on nearly every aspect at all elevations. over 1 cm thick in some areas." Photo: B. Rasmussen

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

  • Ian Hoyer stands in the 7 foot deep snowpit we dug to look at layering and stability. Stability was good. We dug at 9300' off the Sawtelle Peak Road to keep tabs on stability since we put out warnings and basic information for this area on our Trip Planning page. Photo: GNFAC

  • A wind swept ridgeline at the head of Targhee Creek near Lionhead. 1/11/22. Photo: GNFAC

  • Cornices along Lionhead Ridge. 1/11/22. Photo: GNFAC

  • A layer of near surface facets is buried about a foot down on some slopes near Lionhead. 1/11/22 Photo: GNFAC

  • Small natural storm slab avalanche seen near Lionhead. 1/6/22. Photo: C. Leonard

  • The West Yellowstone Beacon Park is up and running for the season! 

    Photo: J. Norlander (1/6/22)

  • This avalanche broke wide in a northerly facing bowl off Lionhead Ridge. It looks to have broken a foot or less deep. The propogation indicates a uniform weak layer, likely near-surface facets or surface hoar. Photo: B. Fuglie

  • A sled was recovered uphill of the 2 avalanche victims in the same area it was stuck. The sled was found with a probe line and is buried 3-4 feet deep. The avalanche crown can be seen in the upper slopes above them. Photo: GNFAC

  • The crown of the avalanche that killed two snowmobilers on December 27, 2021 was 300 feet wide and 4-5 feet deep. Photo: GNFAC

  • These are the two sites where the 2 snowmobilers were recovered. They were buried 4-5 feet deep in debris piles that measured 9 feet deep. Photo: GNFAC

  • Ian Hoyer stands next to the crown where we dug a snowpit and investigated the snow structure. The crown averaged 4-5 feet deep. Near his right knee is the layer of weak faceted snow that broke 40 cm above the ground. Above this layer was a thick slab of windblown snow. Photo: GNFAC

  • Dave Zinn of the GNFAC gets 3 layers breaking in his Extended Column Test. About 3 feet of snow fell in the last 4 days which got blown into wind slabs. The weight of the new snow is also creating instability on a weak layer of sugary facets near the ground. Photo: GNFAC

  • Riders in the Lionhead area observed 5-6 naturally occurring avalanches that likely failed on 12/15 at the tail end of a 3' snowstorm. Photo: S. Tyson

  • Located off Lionhead Ridge outside West Yellowstone, this natural avalanche likely released after the large storm ended Wednesday, December 15. This slope is SE facing and the crown is about 9,400 feet. Faceted snow at/near the ground was the likely weak layer that avalanched. Photo: GNFAC

  • Snowpack on Two Top Mtn. near Island Park, ID on 12/17/21. More than 3 feet of snow fell last week and it was right side up and generally stable. There is some weak snow and crusts near the ground, but we are not seeing signs that these layers are unstable yet. Photo: E. Knoff

  • A skier in the Southern Madison Range remotely triggered this avalanche in the Bacon Rind area from a flat bench above the slope. It broke over 50-75' away where the slope got steeper. Human-triggered avalanches are likely. Avoid steep terrain until the snowpack stabilizes. Photo: Anonymous 

  • From obs: 12/12/21: "Heavy wind loading from gusty SW winds and recent snowfall. Made for some touchy conditions. This was at 9100’ between Sage and Sunlight basins." Photo: JR Mooney

  • At Lionhead Ridge, strong winds are drifting snow into unstable slabs. On steep rollovers, we observed shooting cracks and one large collapse, or "whumph." With more wind and snow in the forecast, expect conditions to get more dangerous before they improve. Photo: GNFAC

  • 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

  • From email (12/5/21) : "Small avalanche triggered while approaching ice climb in East fork of Hyalite basin. 

    Another D1 natural avalanche was observed later in the day similar aspect/elevation

    NE @7600’

    Photo: A. Schoening

  • Skiers on Mount Blackmore observed cracking within the freshly wind-loaded snow on a southeast-facing slope just below the ridge (11/24/21). Photo: J Schack

  • Snowcover on Lionhead ridge begins at about 7,000' in elevation on 11/16. Snowmobiling or skiing from Targhee Pass looks very thin and patchy. Photo: GNFAC

  • Taken on 11/16, consistent snow on all aspects begins around 7,000 feet. 1.5-2 feet of snow is found above 8.500'. Photo: GNFAC

  • From e-mail 11/7/21: "...Once in airplane bowl we saw multiple large slides that ran last night, syn-storm. Most of which came down from the East face of Sac. A few 200-300’ wide and running the length of the bowl.,,, attached is a grainy cell phone pic of the slides in Airplane Bowl." -Anonymous.

  • From email 11/4/21: "...noticed two small wet loose avalanches in the east facing bowl between Pomp and Hardscrabble Peaks." Photo: H. Darby

  • From e-mail 11/4/21: "Hiking up in the Bridger Range from Sacagawea Pass and noticed no faceting of the current snowpack. The snow near the pass and on the ridge is very wind affected as is to be expected and dropping into the bowl on the east side of the Pass the snowpack there has a distinct sun crust. Dug around a little bit at 8600 ft on a NE aspect and found a sun crust of about two inches with what felt like rounded grains below that. Even in the direct sun, the crust was taking a long time to rewarm and was pretty slippery..." Photo: H. Darby


Rendezvous Ski Trail, W. Yellowstone

Snowpit Profiles- Lionhead Range


Select a snowpit on the map to view the profile image

Weather Forecast Lionhead Range

Extended Forecast for

10 Miles WNW West Yellowstone MT

  • Today

    Today: Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 15. Wind chill values as low as -15. West southwest wind 13 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.


    High: 15 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 3. Wind chill values as low as -10. West wind 13 to 15 mph becoming north northwest after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 21 mph.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 3 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 18. Wind chill values as low as -15. North northwest wind 9 to 14 mph becoming west southwest in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.


    High: 18 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 2. Wind chill values as low as -10. West southwest wind 11 to 14 mph becoming south after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.

    Mostly Clear

    Low: 2 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: Sunny, with a high near 20. South southwest wind 10 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.


    High: 20 °F

  • Friday

    Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 6. South southeast wind 11 to 13 mph.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 6 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 23. South wind around 11 mph.

    Mostly Sunny

    High: 23 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 8. South wind around 11 mph becoming east in the evening.

    Mostly Clear

    Low: 8 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 23.


    High: 23 °F

The Last Word

The Beacon Park at Beall Park in Bozeman and the West Yellowstone Beacon Park are up and running! Stop by to check them out and practice with your rescue gear.