This is Ian Hoyer with pre-season avalanche, weather and event information from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center on Saturday, November 19th. This information is sponsored by The Friends of the Avalanche Center and Blitz Motorsports and Yamaha. Join them in supporting free and low-cost avalanche education, community outreach and avalanche center operations during the 2022 Powder Blast Fundraiser.
*Note: Bridger Bowl Ski Area is closed and there is no avalanche control or ski patrol services. Backcountry conditions exist. Please don’t ski over hoses and power cords, they are high-pressure and high-voltage. Be sure to give snowcats and snowmobiles plenty of room
On Saturday morning, winds are 15-25 mph with gusts of 25-40 mph from the west to northwest. Temperatures are in the single digits to teens F. In most areas it snowed a few inches Tuesday and Wednesday, but has been dry since. Lower elevations in Hyalite got a surprising 13” of low density snow on Wednesday night. Temperatures will rise into the teens and 20s F today with sunny skies. Winds will be moderate and westerly. No snow is expected through the weekend.
Over the past few days, strong winds have built fresh wind slabs that are avalanching. On Thursday, a number of small natural and human triggered slides were seen near ridgelines in Beehive Basin and along the Bridger ridge (detail). Yesterday, separate groups triggered two slides mid-slope at Bridger Bowl, one breaking up to a foot deep and the other propagating widely (photo, photo). As Dave addressed in his video earlier this week (video), Bridger Bowl currently has a backcountry snowpack and requires the same level of snowpack assessment as any other piece of avalanche terrain. Recent avalanches are the clearest sign of unstable snow. Heed their warning and watch for fresh drifts and steer clear of them today. If you see snow cracking under your feet, avoid steep terrain.
There are still many exposed hazards that would amplify the consequences of a small slide. If you’re planning on riding in steep terrain and not seeing other signs of instability, get out your shovel and quickly test the snow. The snowpack is shallow enough it’ll only take a few minutes and it is a super valuable double check to make sure you aren’t missing something.
We are grateful for the all the observations that our community is sending in this season. You can read these on the new Snow Observations Page and contribute to our understanding of this season’s snowpack by submitting your observations.
Doug will update this information tomorrow. If you get out, please share avalanche, snowpack or weather observations via our website, email (firstname.lastname@example.org), phone (406-587-6984), or Instagram (#gnfacobs).
A substantial snowpack is growing near Island Park with a structure that makes us hopeful for the season to come (Sawtelle Peak video). Over the past few days, strong winds have built fresh wind slabs. Watch for fresh drifts and steer clear of them today. If you see snow cracking under your feet, avoid steep terrain. If you’re planning on riding in steep terrain and not seeing other signs of instability, get out your shovel and quickly test the snow. The snowpack is shallow enough it’ll only take a few minutes and it is a super valuable double check to make sure you aren’t missing something.
Upcoming Avalanche Education and Events
Our education calendar is full of awareness lectures and field courses. Check it out: Events and Education Calendar.
We are offering an Avalanche Fundamentals with Field Session course for skiers in December and January, and snowmobilers in early January. Sign up early before they fill up.
Friends of GNFAC Powder Blast Fundraiser
The Friends of the Avalanche Center are hosting the Powder Blast Fundraiser. Your donations support free and low-cost avalanche education, beacon checkers at trailheads, beacon parks, weather stations, and GNFAC programs! The Friends of GNFAC launched an online GoFundMe campaign. Please consider a donation, and we look forward to having an in-person event again in the future.