Regional Conditions for Northern Madison

as of 5:00 am
Jan 251″ | 10-20 W
Jan 24 1″ | 10-15 SW
Jan 23 1″ | 15-30 W
9400′     1/26 at 2:00
19 ℉
W - 8 mph, Gusts 15
0 " New
8880′   01/26 at 4:00
21℉
42″ Depth
Bottom Line: There are widespread weak layers near the ground capped by hard slabs of wind drifted snow. Yesterday, the Big Sky Ski Patrol used explosives to trigger a very large deep slab avalanche on the North Summit Snowfield. It broke up to 10 feet deep, on weak snow near the ground. While it has been close to a week since a similar slide was triggered in the backcountry, this demonstrates that it remains possible if you find just the wrong spot. Avoiding steep slopes is the safest plan today.

Past 5 Days

Tue Jan 21

Moderate
Wed Jan 22

Moderate
Thu Jan 23

Moderate
Fri Jan 24

Moderate
Sat Jan 25

Moderate

Avalanche Activity- Northern Madison

Northern Madison
Big Sky Resort
Explosive triggered Deep Slab Avalanche at Big Sky
Incident details include images
Big Sky Resort
HS-ABc-R4-D4
Coordinates: 45.2760, -111.4360
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

A deep slab avalanche was triggered using explosives on 1/24/2020 in the North Summit Snowfield at Big Sky Resort. 

From email: "The Whale came out close to 10’ deep that tapered to 3’ on the skiers right edge...  It broke on basal facets, thin layer, 1F hard at crown (!) with very hard snow above and below the layer that failed ....  It is likely that the layer that failed had some different characteristics lower in the path that avalanched away- possibly less hard."


More Avalanche Details
Northern Madison
McAtee Basin
Snowmobile Triggered Avalanche McAtee Basin
Incident details include images
McAtee Basin
HS-AMu-R2-D2-O
Coordinates: 45.1771, -111.4350
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From Instagram: "I watched a snowmobiler set this avalanche off today. Very scary in MT right now."


More Avalanche Details
Lionhead Range
Lionhead Ridge
Snowmobile Triggered Avalanche Lionhead
Incident details include images
Lionhead Ridge
HS-AM-R2-D2-G
Elevation: 8,800
Aspect: N
Coordinates: 44.7336, -111.3290
Caught: 1 ; Buried: 0

From email: "I wanted to make you aware of a snowmobile triggered slide in Lionhead today. Fortunately, I was not injured, was able to stay completely on top, climbed through the majority of the snow wash after seeing it begin to break, and relatively slowly slid down with the last of the moving snow while still on the machine. When I came to a stop I stood up and was completely free of the snow. Our group is trained in avalanche safety, practiced beacon use prior to leaving town in the morning, were wearing avy gear, and were very fortunate that this ended the way it did.  

A clear reminder that this can happen to any of us and to be careful out there."


More Avalanche Details

Photos- Northern Madison

Displaying 1 - 40
  • Crown of a deep slab avalanche in the North Summit Snowfield at Big Sky Resort triggered using explosives on 1/24/2020. Photo: Big Sky Patrol

  • Crown of a deep slab avalanche in the North Summit Snowfield at Big Sky Resort triggered using explosives on 1/24/2020. Photo: Big Sky Patrol

  • Small snowmobiler triggered avalanche in McAtee Basin. From Instagram: "I watched a snowmobiler set this avalanche off today" T. Chamberlain

  • Small snowmobiler triggered avalanche in McAtee Basin. From Instagram: "I watched a snowmobiler set this avalanche off today" T. Chamberlain

  • From email:

    "I wanted to make you aware of a snowmobile triggered slide in Lionhead today. Fortunately, I was not injured, was able to stay completely on top, climbed through the majority of the snow wash after seeing it begin to break, and relatively slowly slid down with the last of the moving snow while still on the machine. When I came to a stop, I stood up and was completely free of the snow. Our group is trained in avalanche safety, practiced beacon use prior to leaving town in the morning, were wearing avy gear, and were very fortunate that this ended up the way it did. 

    A clear reminder that this can happen to any of us and to be careful out there."

    Photo: Anonymous 

  • From obs: "I was on the west side of Pioneer Mtn digging a pit for YC Ski Patrol. I heard a few groups of snowmobiles cruising around the foothills of cedar. I turned and saw two snowmobilers cresting the ridge above the slide pictured as the debris was settling down. The sledders enjoyed the view for a few minutes before turning back the way they came and stumbled upon the slide they had unknowingly triggered. They skirted around the side of the crown and stopped for a few minutes. Based on the height of the rider off his sled, I would estimate the crown to be roughly 10’ at its max height. NE aspect below Cedar" Photo: J. Marcinko

  • A skier was skinning uphill, breaking trail and triggered this avalanche on 1/19/20. They reported, " released a small pocket near texas meadow. Maybe 50 ft wide, 2 ft crown and ran 150 ft....I was not caught and nobody was buried or injured. I was skinning up at about 1130...I got to where it was steeper and as I reached thinner snow near rocks I felt a whump. I took one more step and the pocket released."

  • January 20th from 4-8pm at Beehive Basin Brewery, join the YC and Big Sky Ski Patrols to support the Darren Johnson memorial fund. Darren was a ski patroller at the Yellowstone Club who was killed in an avalanche on January 19th, 2016. The memorial fund gives scholarships to send patrollers to the National Avalanche School.

  • The crown of this snowmobiler triggered avalanche tapered to a thin slab. These thin areas of the slope are prime zones to trigger a slide from. Photo: GNFAC

  • "... while touring in the Northern Bridgers, my partner and I noticed a very large avalanche that occurred on a North face in "October Bowl" just to the south of Hardscrabble Pk. We didn't witness it and are unsure of a trigger, but we came in contact with all parties believed to be out there and assume it occurred naturally early this morning from heavy wind-loading. The crown seemed to be 2-3' deep but stepped down to the ground about 200' below the crown. The slide was about 400' in width and ran about 1,000' and we assumed classifications of R3.5 and D3. Debris pile was expansive and deep, and prompted us to stick to Southern aspects."  Photo: McKinley Talty

  • From an observation:

    Once in the bottom of Bear Basin, we could see a much larger avalanche that looked to be 1-2 days old. Its disjointed crown was some 150ft wide, but it was hard to tell how deep it was, as its crown was fairly far away and partly blown back in. Parts of the slide ran on the ground layer of facets but looked to be the result of wind load. Photo: C. Kussmaul

  • From an observation:

    Once in the bottom of Bear Basin, we could see a much larger avalanche that looked to be 1-2 days old. Its disjointed crown was some 150ft wide, but it was hard to tell how deep it was, as its crown was fairly far away and partly blown back in. Parts of the slide ran on the ground layer of facets but looked to be the result of wind load. Photo: C. Kussmaul

  • From e-mail: "Skiers triggered two separate slides on south Saddle this afternoon. we witnessed the smaller slide to the lookers right of the big slide, the bigger one happened later apparently... The first smaller slide was caused by a ski cut near the trees, fracture was about 2 feet, soft slab that seemed to run on a thin sun crust. below the sun crust was also very weak and sugary. Not sure when the second skier went farther out and triggered the whole bowl, but they got lucky!!" Photo: T. Andersen

  • Small skier triggered loose dry avalanche observed on a south-facing slope at about 9000' on the ridge separating Beehive and Middle basins. Photo: C. Oshiro-Leavitt

  • These natural avalanches likely occurred on Saturday, January 11. New snow and wind loaded slopes and we saw other slides as we rode around. Photo: GNFAC

  • This natural avalanche in 3rd Yellowmule on Buck Ridge likely occurred on Saturday, January 11. It was a wind loaded and very steep slope. It broke on facets near the ground and was big enough to bury a person (D2). The size was 2-3' deep, 200' wide and 75' vertical. Photo: GNFAC

  • This natural avalanche in 3rd Yellowmule on Buck Ridge likely occurred on Saturday, January 11. It was a wind loaded and very steep slope. It broke on facets near the ground and was big enough to bury a person (D2). The size was 2-3' deep, 200' wide and 75' vertical. Photo: GNFAC

  • Yellowstone Club Ski Patrol triggered a slide with explosives breaking at the ground during avalanche mitigation work on Friday, 1/10/2020.

    From Yellowstone Club Patrol: "It’s a NE facing slope at 8500’ ... got an avalanche to release on an old layer of well defined surface hoar (perhaps from mid-December). In some areas it stepped to ground. The crown was 2-4’ deep and the avalanche was recorded as R3/D2. The avalanche slid to the bottom of the runout and placed 3-12’ of snow in the road and completely blocked the road. This was a relatively large slide for this particular path this early in the season."

    Photo: YC Patrol

  • Small windslab on the apron of the Buttcrack Chute in Middle Basin. Likely broke 1/9 or morning of 1/10/2020. Photo: B. Gill

  • Natural avalanche observed just west of McAtee Basin, near Buck Ridge. Likely broke on 1/9/2019 or morning of 1/10/2019. Photo: J. Gerard

  • February 1, King and Queen of the Ridge at Bridger Bowl (fundraiser). This is the Friends of the Avalanche Center’s second biggest fundraiser of the year. Come on out and help us raise money by hiking and skiing laps on the ridge. Prizes, camaraderie and a good time is guaranteed. Register with Bridger to hike in the event, and create a pledge page to raise funds with your Ridge laps.

  • Photo: J. Bales

  • Large cornice collapse in Middle Basin. The cornice broke 10' back from the edge, 6-7' deep, and ran 800-1000' vertical. The collapse was triggered by a dog in another party. Photo: GNFAC

  • Large cornice collapse in Middle Basin. The cornice broke 10' back from the edge, 6-7' deep, and ran 800-1000' vertical. The collapse was triggered by a dog in another party. Photo: GNFAC

  • Large cornice collapse in Middle Basin. The cornice broke 10' back from the edge, 6-7' deep, and ran 800-1000' vertical. The collapse was triggered by a dog in another party. Photo: GNFAC

  • We visited the avalanche that was triggered by a snowmobiler and partially buried 2 people on January 4th. The crown was 10 feet at the deepest part. Photo: GNFAC

  • We visited the avalanche that was triggered by a snowmobiler and partially buried 2 people on January 4th. The crown was 10 feet at the deepest part. Photo: GNFAC

  • We visited the avalanche that was triggered by a snowmobiler and partially buried 2 people on January 4th. The crown was 10 feet at the deepest part. Photo: GNFAC

  • Photo: Carter Olson

  • Snowmobile buried in debris of a slide that was triggered by a rider and caught two others who were on their sleds below. See link below for more details. Photo: Carter Olson

  • Photo: Quinn

  • Triggered during control work on 1/4/2020. Photo: BSSP

  • Triggered during control work on 1/4/2020. Photo: BSSP

  • Snowmobilers triggered this slide in the 3rd Yellow Mule off Buck Ridge on Saturday (1/4/20).

  •  @carter.olson

  • From one of the riders that was caught, "The 3 persons involved were traveling across the slope about 20-30 yards up from the tree line parallel to the ridge line in the slide area when it broke, not high marking and not traveling uphill. One rider did increase his elevation while traveling across the slope but was never more than 1/4 of the way up when the slide was triggered."

  • This slide was triggered by Bridger Bowl ski patrol during control work on Saturday (1/4/2020). It shows deeply buried persistent weak layers from early October and November were pushed to a breaking point by the recent snow and wind. A person can trigger avalanches like this on heavily wind loaded slopes in the backcountry. Additionally, shallower large avalanches can be triggered on any steep slope. Photo: BBSP

  • A natural avalanche crown was seen on Yellow Mountain near Big Sky on Saturday morning (1/4/20). Photo: A. Schauer

  • A party of three skiers remote triggered avalanche with at least 6' crown off N face of Mt Porphry along rockband near summit on 12/29/19. They triggered it after tyhey had found "Three pits dug on NE face ascending Mt Porphry indicating increasing stability and no clean propagation. Approx 150-210 cm deep snowpack." Photo: G. Alsentzer

WebCams


8800 Camera, Lone Peak view

Golf Course

Yellowstone Club, Timberline Chair

Weather Forecast Northern Madison

Extended Forecast for

5 Miles NNW Big Sky MT

Winter Weather Advisory January 26, 12:00pm until January 27, 05:00am
Click here for hazard details and duration
Winter Weather Advisory
  • Today

    Today: Snow, mainly after noon. The snow could be heavy at times.  High near 28. South southwest wind 11 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 90%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.

    Chance Snow
    then Heavy
    Snow

    High: 28 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Snow, mainly before 11pm. The snow could be heavy at times.  Low around 17. Southwest wind around 15 mph becoming northwest in the evening.  Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible.

    Heavy Snow
    then Chance
    Snow

    Low: 17 °F

  • Monday

    Monday: A 30 percent chance of snow, mainly after 11am.  Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 23. West southwest wind 11 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.  Little or no snow accumulation expected.

    Chance Snow

    High: 23 °F

  • Monday
    Night

    Monday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 16. Wind chill values as low as zero. Breezy, with a south wind 17 to 22 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.

    Mostly Cloudy
    then Mostly
    Cloudy and
    Breezy

    Low: 16 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: A 50 percent chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 24. Breezy, with a south wind 20 to 24 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow
    and Breezy

    High: 24 °F

  • Tuesday
    Night

    Tuesday Night: A 50 percent chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 16. Breezy, with a southwest wind 15 to 22 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow
    and Breezy

    Low: 16 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: Partly sunny, with a high near 22. Southwest wind 14 to 17 mph.

    Partly Sunny

    High: 22 °F

  • Wednesday
    Night

    Wednesday Night: A chance of snow, mainly after 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 15. South wind 16 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph.

    Chance Snow

    Low: 15 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: A chance of snow.  Partly sunny, with a high near 24. Breezy.

    Chance Snow
    and Breezy

    High: 24 °F

The Last Word

Next Saturday, February 1, is the King and Queen of the Ridge at Bridger Bowl! Come on out and help us raise money by hiking and skiing laps on the ridge. Prizes, camaraderie and a good time are guaranteed. Register with Bridger to hike in the event and create a pledge page to raise funds with your Ridge laps.