Good Morning. This is Ian Hoyer with the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Forecast on Friday, April 2nd at 7:00 a.m. Today’s forecast is sponsored by Blitz Motorsports and Yamaha and Bridger Bowl. This forecast does not apply to operating ski areas.
Under clear skies, mountain temperatures this morning are near or slightly above freezing. Winds are westerly at 10-25 mph with gusts of 45-55 mph. High temperatures will be in the 40s and 50s F, a few degrees warmer than yesterday. Moderate westerly winds will continue with peak gusts diminishing somewhat. Warm, sunny weather is on tap through the weekend.
Wet avalanches are the primary concern today. Except at the highest elevations, temperatures either didn’t drop below freezing last night or only dipped below freezing for a few hours. This means that some slopes didn’t refreeze at all while others will only have a slight surface crust this morning. Today is forecasted to be the warmest day so far this spring. As the surface snow gets wet today it will begin to avalanche as loose, wet slides. The combination of a poor refreeze last night and even warmer temperatures today means these conditions will develop earlier today than they did yesterday.
As Dave discusses in his video from Beehive yesterday, safe travel with wet snow is all a matter of timing. As the day goes on, it will become easier to trigger loose wet avalanches and slides will start to entrain more snow and become larger. Plan to avoid steep, sunny slopes later this afternoon. Fortunately, it is readily apparent when conditions are becoming more dangerous - once you’re sinking more than ankle deep into wet snow, it’s time to move to shadier slopes or head home.
Minimize your time travelling underneath cornices today, especially as the day heats up, as they’ve grown big and will start to break off with this warm weather.
On shady slopes where the snowpack remains dry, we’re not completely in the clear. Strong winds have continued drifting snow and while drifts will generally be well bonded, you could find a pocket where they’re not. It’s worth digging down to make sure you haven’t stumbled onto an unstable drift before committing to a steep shady slope. While you’re digging, cover your bases by testing for a weak layer a couple feet under the surface.
The avalanche danger is rated MODERATE today.
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:
April 5, 6:30 p.m., Forecaster Chat with Alex Marienthal, hosted by Uphill Pursuits, “Spring Snowpack and Forecasting Tools”. Link to Join.
This French video of a skier triggered avalanche, burial and rescue is unbelievable and worth 5 minutes of your time. Multiple GoPro cameras caught the action and you’ll watch a successful partner rescue unfold. The takeaway is simple: practice. There’s no shortcut to being a honed partner.