Southwest MT Sees 1st Avalanche Advisory of Season

Posted By: The Ski Channel on October 19, 2012 1:21 pm

The Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center issued its first avalanche advisory of the season on Thursday.

Doug Chabot says that more will be issued as snow begins to accumulate, and is reminding folks that the 14th Annual PowderBlast will take place on Friday, October 26.

Here is the rest of the information provided in the release:

Mountain Weather:

After long range weather models were examined and analyzed, southwest Montana is predicted to have an average to slightly below average snowfall. The good news is that average sounds down right enjoyable after last year. More good news is that sometimes the long range models are incorrect. Sure, they can be wrong in the drier-than-expected way, but they can also be wrong in the “holy cow, not another foot of new powder” way. Click to look at the models here and form your own biased conclusions.

Weather Stations:

The weather stations at Taylor Fork and Lionhead in the southern Madison Range are both up and running. The station up Flanders Peak in Hyalite will be put up next, followed by the one at LuLu Pass outside Cooke City. The NRCS SNOTEL sites operate 24/7 and are a great spot to get a first look at where the snow is falling.

Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion:

On the snowpack front, there’s not a whole lot to report as of yet. Around Bozeman and Big Sky, shaded, north facing, high elevation slopes are still holding snow that fell during the beginning of October. These few inches of snow have changed to sugary facets. Buried facets, even thin layers, are prone to avalanche once they get buried.

HUNTERS: Be wary of crossing steep, snow covered slopes while hunting. You are recommended to carry an inclinometer to help identify avalanche terrain (slopes steeper than 30 degrees) so you can avoid them.

ICE CLIMBERS: An avalanche on a small slope can be deadly if it sweeps you off a cliff. Two ice climbers died on the north face of Sphinx Mountain in 2004 when a small, shallow slide pushed them off a large cliff.

SKIERS and BOARDERS: If there’s enough snow to ride, there’s enough snow to slide. Although there may not be enough snow to be buried, avalanches injure folks every fall by beating them up on rocks.