Regional Conditions for Southern Madison

as of 5:00 am
Today1″ | N/A
Apr 11 0″ | NA
Apr 10 0″ | NA
9460′     03/30 at 13:00
33.3℉
N - 0mph
Gusts 4mph
9000′   04/12 at 7:00
11℉
75″ 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

Past 5 Days

Thu Apr 8

Low
Fri Apr 9

Moderate
Sat Apr 10

Low
Sun Apr 11

Low
Today

None

Avalanche Activity- Southern Madison

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- Southern Madison

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

  • Two natural avalanches in Sunlight Basin occurred on a heavily wind-loaded slope. Also, note the very large cornice overhanging the slope. Avoid getting on top of or underneath these large overhangs of snow as they can break unpredictably. Photo: GNFAC

  • A small, natural avalanche in Sage Basin occurred on a heavily wind-loaded slope. Also, note the very large cornice overhanging the slope. Avoid getting on top of or underneath these large overhangs of snow as they can break unpredictably. Photo: GNFAC

  • 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

  • From obs (3/27/21): "We were skinning up Pyramid Point from the East. as we approached 10,000 ft, we encountered a wind slab on an East Facing slope. it was about 1-2 inches where we encountered it, but it quickly propogated. the crown was 18-20 inches at its highest and about 150 feet wide. the debris ran for about 200 feet."

  • 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

  • On shady aspects, there is a layer of weak near-surface facets developing. These could become a problem if they get buried by new snow this weekend. On sunny aspects, the snow surface is getting wet and is becoming weak as it heats up in the afternoon.

    In this photo, observe how both issues can occur on the same slope. 

    Photo: GNFAC

  • Small wet slide on south facing slope low on Skyline Ridge. Observed 3/13/21. Likely broke in the previous couple of days.

    Photo: GNFAC

  • Deep slab avalanche on Arden Peak at the back of Maid of the Mist basin in Hyalite. Probably broke between Feb 22 and Feb 28, 2021 Photo: GNFAC

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

  • 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

  • "On the drive back we saw a large crown on the NW face of Big Horn peak..." (likely broke Sat or Sun, 2/27-28). Photo:  S. Jonas

  • 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

  • From obs: "With recent persistent winds the cornices are growing to impressive size. Noted a few natural cornice drops on the south 'rim' of Sage Basin." Photo: R. Larson

  • 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.

  • This recent avalanche failed on a heavily wind-loaded slope in Sage Basin along the ridgeline. It may have initiated as a cornice fall or a wind-slab, but it broke down to deeply buried facets. Even though it was a small slope, the slide had enough power to knock down a tree and piled debris deeply at the bottom of the slope. Photo: GNFAC

  • 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

  • Natural avalanche in southern Madison Range. West facing. 9,000 ft. Look like recent wind-loaded snow. Observed 2/27/21. Photo: B. Nobel 

  • This small natural avalanche was seen by snowbikers in Beaver Creek in the southern Madison Range on 24 February. Photo: J. Stumne

  • From obs: “Triggered a large slide with a snowmobile. Went all the way to the ground. Crown seemed to range anywhere from maybe 3 ft to 10 ft. Large slabs of snow broke free and slid for about 100 yards.”

  • On 2/14/21 two splitboarders triggered this avalanche while skinning up the slope. One was caught, partially buried and critically injured. Photo: GNFAC

  • On 2/14/21 two splitboarders triggered this avalanche while skinning up the slope. One was caught, partially buried and critically injured. 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.

Videos- Southern Madison

WebCams


Raynolds Pass, Looking N

Weather Forecast Southern Madison

Extended Forecast for

20 Miles S Big Sky MT

  • Today

    Today: Mostly sunny, with a high near 24. Wind chill values as low as -5. North northeast wind 9 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph.

    Mostly Sunny

    High: 24 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 8. Wind chill values as low as -10. North northeast wind 13 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 8 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 26. Wind chill values as low as -10. Northeast wind 13 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph.

    Mostly Sunny

    High: 26 °F

  • Tuesday
    Night

    Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 13. Wind chill values as low as -5. Northeast wind 15 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 13 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: Snow likely, mainly after noon.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 32. Northeast wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Snow Likely

    High: 32 °F

  • Wednesday
    Night

    Wednesday Night: A 50 percent chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 17. Northeast wind around 14 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    Low: 17 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: A 50 percent chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 34. North northeast wind 11 to 13 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    High: 34 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: A chance of snow, mainly before midnight.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 19. North northeast wind 11 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

    Chance Snow

    Low: 19 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: A slight chance of snow.  Partly sunny, with a high near 36.

    Slight Chance
    Snow

    High: 36 °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.