After a warm start to fall, winter abruptly began with 1-3 feet of snow in the mountains on October 22-24. Like most of the west, southwest Montana had average to above average snow and cold temperatures the entire season. These conditions brought plenty of avalanche activity.
We just ended our 33rd year of operation with a winter of cold temperatures, above average snowfall and snow depth measuring 100% to 152% of normal on April 1. After a few anemic seasons this was a reminder that the snowfall pendulum swings both directions.
Click .PDF below for full season summary.
On October 12 there was enough snow on the ground for us to issue our first early season bulletin. We issued our first daily forecast on December 10, with a moderate danger throughout the area. Click .PDF below for full season summary.
We just ended our 32nd year of operation. It was a low snow year with snowpack totals 70-80% of normal.
All winter we talked about weak, sugary snow near the base of the snowpack creating unstable conditions, especially in the mountains near Bozeman, Big Sky and West Yellowstone. From late October through November the mountains received 2-4 feet of snow, followed by mostly dry and cold weather through mid-December. This long period of high pressure caused the early season snow to become faceted, sugary and weak. Read full summary in PDF below.
We just ended our 31st year of operation after a winter of increased backcountry traffic on an avalanche prone snowpack. The season started on October 14 with an early season snowstorm and first recorded avalanches. We issued 12 early season bulletins before the start of the daily forecasts which ran for 121 days from December 12 to April 11.
Snow stability tests provide information about the likelihood of avalanching on slopes with a similar snow structure. They are especially important during times of conditional
Winter is not going down without a fight, but we have concluded our 30th season of daily avalanche forecasts. A 10” early snowstorm prompted our first bulletin of the year on September 26. Snow continued, folks flocked to the mountains and we issued 17 bulletins before our daily advisories started on November 30. By April 5th we had issued 128 daily advisories including 2 days of avalanche warnings, and will continue posting weather and snowpack updates twice a week through April. This was a good winter on many fronts: no avalanche fatalities and plenty of snowfall.
We recognize that backcountry skiing can be daunting to approach. That’s why Ben Goertzen and the Friends of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center have teamed up to help breakdown some of the most prominent barriers of entry to backcountry skiing through this campaign. One lucky winner will be given a complete backcountry skiing kit, a spot in an avalanche awareness course, and featured in a three part video series that ends with an excursion into the backcountry with professional skier and filmmaker, Ben Goertzen.