GNFAC Avalanche Forecast for Mon Jan 17, 2022

Not the Current Forecast

Good morning. This is Dave Zinn with the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Forecast on Monday, January 17th at 6:45 a.m. This information is sponsored by Highline Partners and Cooke City Super 8/ Bearclaw Bob’s. This forecast does not apply to operating ski areas.

Mountain Weather

Mountain temperatures this morning are 20-30 degrees F across the advisory area and in the teens F in Cooke City. Winds are 10-20 mph from the west to northwest and there is no new snow. High temperatures today will be around 30 F with 40 F in the Bridger Range. Winds will be 10-25 mph from the southwest and some areas will see a trace of new snow overnight.

Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion

All Regions

It has been eight days since the last reported avalanche activity and snowfall, and avalanche conditions are generally safe. Yesterday, in opposite corners of our advisory area, Doug in the northern Bridger Range (video) and Alex in Cooke City (video) both found stable snow but advised several important precautions:

  1. Perform a stability test before entering steep terrain to look for isolated instabilities.
  2. Follow standard safe travel protocols including carrying rescue equipment and knowing how to use it.
  3. Managing your terrain choices to minimize the negative effects of a small avalanche.
  4. Riding or skiing one at a time in steep terrain.

Don’t discard these travel protocols when it is low danger. They are what we use to hedge our bets when entering avalanche terrain. Following this methodology, one group in Beehive Basin and one at Ernie Miller Ridge decided to make more conservative terrain choices after getting failure and propagation in their stability tests, this is never the wrong choice (photo). Additionally, Ian made a point to mention cornices as another growing hazard that we should give a wide berth in his video from Buck Ridge.

Finally, take note of the snow surface because we have snow trickling in through the week, and today’s snow surface will be tomorrow’s weak layer. Multiple riders in West Yellowstone and Alex in Cooke City pointed out a feathery layer of surface hoar that will be problematic if it gets buried intact (Cooke photo, Lionhead photo 1, 2).

Today, avalanches are unlikely, and the danger is LOW.

If you get out, please send us your observations no matter how brief. You can submit them via our website, email (, phone (406-587-6984), or Instagram (#gnfacobs).

Upcoming Education Opportunities

The West Yellowstone Beacon Park is up and running! Stop by to check it out and practice with your rescue gear.

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:

January 20 + Field Day. Our popular Avalanche Fundamentals with Field Course is perfect as a refresher or an introduction to avalanches. We are introducing a new format with four pre-recorded lectures to watch at your convenience, a live question and answer session, and a choice of a snowmobile or ski/ board-based field day occurring the following two weekends.

Every Saturday near Cooke City, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. FREE snowpack update and transceiver/rescue training. Stop by for 20 minutes or more at the Round Lake Warming Hut.

The Last Word

As we wait for the next dump of snow, now is an excellent time to practice avalanche rescue. Are you fast and efficient with your beacon? Is your partner? Even the sharpest knife needs an occasional tune. Check out this BCA video to hone your skills.