Good Morning. This is Alex Marienthal with pre-season avalanche, weather and event information for the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center on Sunday, November 8th at 7:00 a.m. This information is sponsored by Uphill Pursuits.
*Note: Bridger Bowl Ski Area is closed and there is no avalanche control or ski patrol services. Backcountry conditions exist. Workers are setting up for the season and making snow. Please stay clear of work areas, snow guns, chair lifts and other equipment.
This morning the mountains near Bozeman, Big Sky and West Yellowstone have 3-5” of new snow, and near Cooke City has 9”. Wind is primarily out of the east at 5-20 mph with gusts to 45 mph. Temperatures are in the teens to low 20s F and will drop to the single digits tonight. Today wind and snow will continue. Wind will shift to a northerly direction at 10-20 mph with 3-6” of snow possible by tomorrow morning.
The recent warm weather provided an opportunity to check your shovel and probe for damage, put fresh batteries in your beacon and brush up on your avalanche assessment skills. We are back to winter and avalanche danger will increase with this new snow and wind. If you go to the mountains to hike, ski, snowmobile, ice climb or hunt, continuously assess if you are on or below steep slopes of any size. And if so, ask, is the snow capable of sliding? If the answer is yes or you are not sure, find lower angle terrain to travel in for the day.
Today be extra cautious of steep slopes with fresh drifts. These drifts are likely unstable and can avalanche, especially where they are deposited over old snow. Dig a quick snowpit to assess the stability of the new snow, and watch for cracking around your skis or feet as a sign the snow is unstable. Photos of avalanches near Cooke City at the end of the last storm show one example of what is possible today and this week.
Snow and cold get me excited to carve turns and climb up mountains, whether on snowmobile, with crampons or skis. Whatever your mode of travel remember it is early, coverage is thin and our brains, bodies and gear need to re-adjust to winter. Start the season with small objectives, and allow time to discuss conditions or fix that broken piece of gear that was ignored when bike season started.
Tomorrow night, Ian and I will present at the MSU Snow and Avalanche Workshop. We will discuss local terrain, and how to apply some of the resources on our website to assess conditions. It will be live online and a great way to get in the winter mindset.
We’ll be updating the weather log, photos page and avalanche activity list daily and issuing early season updates throughout the fall as conditions merit. If you have avalanche, snowpack or weather observations to share, please submit them via our website, email (firstname.lastname@example.org), phone (406-587-6984), or Instagram (#gnfacobs).
Upcoming Avalanche Education and Events
See our education calendar for an up to date list of all local classes. Here are a few select upcoming events and opportunities to check out:
The 6th Annual MSU Snow and Avalanche Workshop will be an hour of live online talks each Monday evening in November.
Our popular Avalanche Fundamentals with Field Course will have online lectures the evening of December 2 and 3 with a choice of field days over the following two weekends. There are separate field sessions tailored for both skiers and splitboarders (Bridger Bowl) and snowmobilers (Buck Ridge). There will be a second course on January 23 and 24.
Last year, the “Avalanche Hour” podcast interviewed Alex and Doug individually. Besides acting as a helpful refresher for the coming season, there’s good information about our work at the GNFAC. Check out the Avalanche Hour’s long list of other great interviews as well.
Support the Friends of the GNFAC
This year, The Friends of the Avalanche Center are unable to host an in-person Powder Blast due to COVID. In place of their biggest fund-raiser, 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.
On Tuesday a young woman was killed when she suffered trauma from a bad fall while skiing The Great One near Fairy Lake. We are saddened by this accident and our condolences go out to her family and friends. See Gallatin County Sheriff Office for more info.