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  • New Reports West Yellowstone ,mt

    Snowmobiling Trail Report – Monday November 28, 2005 – West Yellowstone, MT



    It has been an interesting week, weather-wise. Cold, but sunny skies up until Thanksgiving compacted snow depths by 1-2” in most locations. Weekend storms brought in new powdery snow to make for some early season riding. Sunny skies this morning will be replaced by cold temperatures and partly cloudy skies with snow showers predicted (from 20-50%) for the next seven days.



    Since Friday night the Bridger Mountains got 30 inches of 5% density snow. The northern Gallatins are showing 20+ inches, and the ski areas around Lone Peak got 10-12 inches.

    With close to a foot in the Madisons and 8 inches around Cooke City and West Yellowstone, the snow fell onto weaker faceted snow at the higher elevations, but it doesn’t appear to be a major stability concern right now. The interface between the new and old snow is where the instability lies and additional snow loading from the wind will certainly create sensitive conditions.



    In the northern ranges not many folks had the fortitude to plow through 4 feet of snow to gain the ridgelines. As the snow settles and travel becomes easier there may be more people to trigger soft slab wind drifts near the ridges. Pay attention to any changing snow conditions. And although the skiing and riding is great, don’t become so rabid that you throw your safety protocols out the window. Remember, travel with a partner, put only one person at a time on a slope and carry rescue gear. Be extra careful crossing or getting underneath avalanche paths and onto slopes with wind drifts. Let’s be safe out there.



    Current snow depths include 9” here in West Yellowstone, 25.7” on the Madison Plateau, 40” at Carrot Basin, and 46.6” at Black Bear (8,666’). Neighboring Idaho mountains report 3” on the ground at Henry’s Lake, 11.9” at Island Park, 29.6” at White Elephant, and 25” at Sawtelle Peak. Local riders report up to 3 feet of snow now at the top of Targhee Pass, some nice trail riding off Taylor’s Ridge up to Sunlight Basin and the Big Sky Trail.



    If you are going to be in the West Yellowstone area during the weekend of December 17th, the ASMSU Outdoor Recreation Program will be teaching “Avalanche Awareness for Snowmobilers.” This class meets the requirements for snowmobile guides, but it’s also open to the public. Topics include: avalanche terrain recognition, effect weather has on avalanche hazards, development of mountain snowpack, decision-making skills, basic search and rescue. To participate, you will need a reliable snowmobile and basic mountain riding skills, along with an avalanche rescue beacon & shovel. Call 587-6984 for more information.



    Daily trail grooming in the National Forests is set to resume December 1st and




    Jan Stoddard
    Director of Marketing & Operations

    Yellowstone Tour & Travel
    Specializing in Yellowstone Summer Experiences, Winter Snowmobile and Snowcoach Tours including Discounted Airfare
    [email protected]
    406-646-9310 (Work)
    406-640-0353 (Cell)

  • #2
    This morning, another in a series of weather systems is exiting southwest Montana. This system arrived last evening and by this morning at 4:00 am, 3-6 inches of snow had accumulated in the mountains of southwest Montana. Today, lingering snow showers will add another 2-4 inches. Snowmobiling and skiing are excellent!



    In the Bridger Range, and northern Gallatin and northern Madison Ranges, and the mountains around Cooke City, the primary avalanche concern is on steep, recently wind-loaded slopes. At Big Sky, the ski patrol used explosives to trigger wind slab avalanches on slopes well above treeline. Some wind slabs also formed near treeline, though they didn’t readily respond to ski cuts or explosives. Today, avalanches are possible on recently wind-loaded slopes and on slopes where non-wind affected snow is cohesive enough to form soft slabs. Therefore, today for the Bridger Range, the northern Gallatin and northern Madison Ranges, and the mountains around Cooke City, a MODERATE avalanche danger exists on all slopes steeper than 35 degrees. A LOW danger exists on less steep slopes.



    Avalanche danger ratings are not available for the southern Gallatin and southern Madison Ranges including the Lionhead area near West Yellowstone until the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Advisory finishes collecting information about the snowpack. We know good snow stability existed prior to last weekend’s storm; however, surface hoar and faceted snow that formed last week could now be buried under 1-2 feet of snow. These weak layers, if they exist, could cause avalanches.



    Hazard for the Teton Area for 12/2 is CONSIDERABLE below 7,500 feet and HIGH above 7,500 feet. The Island Park / Two-Top area hazard for 12/2 is estimated as CONSIDERABLE to HIGH in upper elevations also. Harder slabs on top of a layer of sugar/hoar or crusts could nail you today.



    Current snow depths include 22” here in West Yellowstone, 36” on the Madison Plateau, 44.4” at Carrot Basin, and 61” at Black Bear (8,666’). Neighboring Idaho mountains report 8” on the ground at Henry’s Lake, 8” new and 19” total at Island Park, 35.6” at White Elephant, and 39” at Sawtelle Peak.


    If you are going to be in the West Yellowstone area on December 17th, the ASMSU Outdoor Recreation Program will be teaching “Avalanche Awareness for Snowmobilers.” This class meets the requirements for snowmobile guides, but it’s also open to the public. The class starts at noon on the 17th in the Yellowstone Holiday Inn. A suggested donation of $30 to the Friends of the Avalanche Center covers the weekend. Call 587-6984 for more information.



    Daily trail grooming in the National Forests has resumed and Yellowstone National Park will re-open for over-the-snow vehicles on December 21st.













    Jan Stoddard
    Director of Marketing & Operations

    Yellowstone Tour & Travel
    Specializing in Yellowstone Summer Experiences, Winter Snowmobile and Snowcoach Tours including Discounted Airfare
    [email protected]
    406-646-9310 (Work)
    406-640-0353 (Cell)

    Comment


    • #3
      A strong northwest current dumped 20 inches of fluffy powder in the Bridgers. The northern Gallatins are showing another 6-8 inches while the rest of our area got 3-6 inches with snowfall amounts tapering off to the south. Mountain temperatures this morning are reading –8F up north to +8F down south. Ridgetop winds are starting to subside from their strong westerly gusts at 50 mph to a more southwest flow at 10-20 mph. Cloudy skies will clear by tonight as a stable, dry and bitter cold air mass settles in. Winds will remain light and temperatures will only rise into the single digits before plummeting to 20 below this evening.



      The snowmobile trail groomers report that this the best early season snow in many years! Last weekend snowmobilers reported excellent trail riding with over 90% of trails groomed and some incredible views from Two Top – after the fog bank lifted!



      In the Northern Gallatins, the only instability reported was at the ridgeline where small wind slabs cracked as my partners and I skied over them. Further south the Big Sky Ski Patrol released large hard slab avalanches on wind-loaded slopes. And in the mountains outside of Cooke City a snowmobiler found lots of wind loading with poor visibility. He even caught some unexpected air off a cornice! For today, the avalanche danger in the northern Gallatin and northern Madison Ranges, and the mountains around Cooke City is MODERATE on all slopes steeper than 35 degrees. A LOW danger exists on less steep slopes. For today in the Bridger Range the avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on wind-loaded slopes steeper than 35 degrees. Slopes not affected by the wind will be eyeball deep and only have a MODERATE danger if they’re steeper than 35 degrees and LOW danger on lower angled slopes.



      The snowpack is not stable in the southern Madison and southern Gallatin Ranges. Prior to Thanksgiving a significant surface hoar layer formed which is now buried 18 inches under the surface. It produced clean shears in stability tests lots of collapsing and cracking on this layer in the Lionhead area. Another 3-6 inches on top of this will keep the avalanche danger spiked, especially on slopes that are wind loaded. Today, the avalanche danger in the southern Gallatin and southern Madison Ranges, as well as the Lionhead area near West Yellowstone, remains HIGH on all recently wind-loaded slopes. Non wind-loaded slopes have a CONSIDERABLE danger.



      Hazard for the Teton Area for 12/6 is Moderate below 7,500' and CONSIDERABLE above 7,500. Hazard for the Lionhead area for 12/6 is HIGH on recently wind-loaded slopes and CONSIDERABLE on non-loaded slopes. The Island Park /Two-Top area hazard for 12/6 is estimated to be similar to the Lionhead forecast. Multiple slabs on top of a layer of hoar will become more sensitive with new loading by wind. Remember that pockets of unstable snow with a HIGH (or higher) hazard rating may exist. Avoid avalanche terrain today.



      Current snow depths include 22.5” here in West Yellowstone, 39.2” on the Madison Plateau, 47.5” at Carrot Basin, and 67.5” at Black Bear (8,666’). Neighboring Idaho mountains report 13” on the ground at Henry’s Lake, 8” new and 20.7” total at Island Park 41.6” at White Elephant, and 42” at Sawtelle Peak.
      Jan Stoddard
      Director of Marketing & Operations

      Yellowstone Tour & Travel
      Specializing in Yellowstone Summer Experiences, Winter Snowmobile and Snowcoach Tours including Discounted Airfare
      [email protected]
      406-646-9310 (Work)
      406-640-0353 (Cell)

      Comment


      • #4
        Dec 13, 2005
        Today started (and ended) with a light snow showers as a cold front drops in from the north bringing some snow. By tomorrow morning this moist northwest flow will drop 1-2 inches over most of our area with 2-4 inches falling in the Bridger Range. There is a 20% chance of snow through Saturday evening.

        Stable snowpack exists in the Bridger and northern Gallatin Ranges. Yesterday a skier found surface hoar sitting on crusty snow on Mt Ellis. Besides poor skiing, the biggest problem is that this layer may get buried posing problems down the line. Without significant weak layers and no reports of instability, the avalanche danger is LOW today.

        Although the northern Madison Range and mountains around Cooke City are spaced far apart, they share a similar snowpack. A layer of small faceted grains is buried 1-2 feet deep producing clean shears in stability tests. On Sunday, a snowmobiler in Cooke City triggered a slide on Daisy Pass that ran a few hundred vertical feet. Even though the avalanche activity has been isolated, it’s worth noting that a human triggered slide indicates obvious instability. Consequently, the avalanche danger in these mountains is MODERATE on all slopes steeper than 35 degrees. Less steep slopes have a LOW danger.

        For today the avalanche danger is MODERATE on all slopes for the southern Gallatin and southern Madison Ranges, including the Lionhead area near West Yellowstone. Widespread collapsing and cracking on a buried surface hoar layer was found in the Lionhead area outside West Yellowstone 10 days ago. However, testing yesterday showed no evidence of recent avalanche activity and even saw snowmobile tracks on steeper slopes. Although, the surface hoar layer is easily found at 16” deep, it has gained strength. On another note, the surface snow was awash in surface hoar crystals. With a few inches of snow predicted for today this could be our next big problem if it gets buried.

        The Bridger-Teton National Forest forecast (for the Teton Area--from Jackson Hole Ski Area) reports general avalanche hazard is LOW at all elevations. Hard sun crusts cover most southern exposures and should not soften much today. Slides could still be triggered in pockets in very steep, northerly aspects in shallow, rocky areas. Remember, this forecast does not include extreme terrain or behavior like very steep cliffbands and chutes or large hucks."



        Current snow depths include 20.9” here in West Yellowstone, 33” on the Madison Plateau, 42.2” at Carrot Basin, and 55.1” at Black Bear (8,666’). Neighboring Idaho Mountains report 18” on the ground at Henry’s Lake, 18” at Island Park 41.6” at White Elephant, and 35” at Sawtelle Peak.


        Daily trail grooming in the National Forests has resumed and Yellowstone National Park will re-open for over-the-snow vehicles on December 21st.

        Jan Stoddard
        Director of Marketing & Operations

        Yellowstone Tour & Travel
        Specializing in Yellowstone Summer Experiences, Winter Snowmobile and Snowcoach Tours including Discounted Airfare
        [email protected]
        406-646-9310 (Work)
        406-640-0353 (Cell)

        Comment


        • #5
          Early this morning, a vigorous weather system moved through southwest Montana. Cooler air associated with this system, dropped the freezing level to 5000 feet. During the past 24 hours, the mountains around West Yellowstone and Cooke City received 4 – 8 inches of snow, the mountains around Big Sky got 2 – 5 inches, and the Bridger Range got 1-2 inches. Today, a ridge of high pressure will start to develop over the northern Rockies. Partly cloudy skies, mountain temperatures in the upper 20’s to mid-30’s F and west to northwesterly ridgetop winds at 20 – 30 mph will usher in the holiday weekend.



          Avalanche advisories for the Bridger, northern Gallatin and northern Madison Ranges, the mountains around Cooke City and the Washburn Range: Avalanches are possible on any slope steeper than 35 degrees thus today’s avalanche danger on these slopes is MODERATE. The avalanche danger on less steep slopes remains LOW.



          Yesterday, folks traveling on Lionhead, near West Yellowstone triggered small slides, 6 – 8 inches deep on 35 – 40 degree steep slopes. These slopes faced north and west at elevations between 8500 and 9000 feet. In addition to new snow avalanches, the snow could fracture on one of two layers of surface hoar buried 3-4 inches and 1-2 feet deep in the southern Madison and southern Gallatin Ranges, including the Lionhead area near West Yellowstone. Subsequently, avalanche advisories for the southern Gallatin and southern Madison Ranges, including the Lionhead area near West Yellowstone are a CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger on all slopes steeper than 35 degrees. The danger on less steep slopes is MODERATE.



          In Bridger-Teton National Forest forecast (for the Teton Area--from Jackson Hole Ski Area) reports general avalanche hazard is MODERATE at all elevations. At the mid and upper elevations over the past 30 hours 9 inches of new snow with over an inch of moisture has fallen and combined with very strong southwest winds to create new dense wind slabs up to 18 inches in depth. These slabs could be triggered by skiers or riders who venture into steep wind loaded avalanche starting zones. At the lower elevations rain and warm temperatures have created unstable conditions on steep snow covered slopes. Wet loose slides to the ground are possible on steep banks and road cuts.



          Current snow depths include 20” here in West Yellowstone, 83” on the Madison Plateau, 43.8” at Carrot Basin, and 54.9” at Black Bear (8,666’). Neighboring Idaho Mountains report 8” on the ground at Henry’s Lake, 19” at Island Park, 37” at White Elephant, and 41” at Sawtelle Peak.



          Yellowstone National Park has opened for over-the-snow travel. Guides are reporting buffalo, elk and large numbers of trumpeter swans along the Madison River coming in from the West entrance. One guide reported a rare bobcat sighting at Madison Junction yesterday. Yellowstone is reporting new snow from a trace to 3” at Grants Village. Road conditions range from good to fair (due to warmer temperatures and snow levels). Snow depths include 11” at Madison, 15” at Old Faithful, and 24” at Canyon.
          Jan Stoddard
          Director of Marketing & Operations

          Yellowstone Tour & Travel
          Specializing in Yellowstone Summer Experiences, Winter Snowmobile and Snowcoach Tours including Discounted Airfare
          [email protected]
          406-646-9310 (Work)
          406-640-0353 (Cell)

          Comment


          • #6
            During the past 24 hours, 8-14 inches of wet, heavy snow fell in the mountains of southwest Montana. This week’s storms have shot up snow depths throughout the area (see below).



            The Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center has issued a Backcountry Avalanche Warning for the southern Gallatin and southern Madison Ranges, including the Lionhead area near West Yellowstone. New snow over the past 48 hours was deposited on an extremely weak snowpack. For today, the avalanche danger is HIGH on all slopes. Areas of unstable snow exist. Both natural and human triggered avalanches are likely. Avalanche terrain and run-out zones should be avoided.



            Today, a CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger exists on wind-loaded slopes steeper than 35 degrees in the northern Madison Range, mountains around Cooke City and the Washburn Range. A MODERATE danger exists on all other slopes.



            The snowpack in the Bridger and northern Gallatin Ranges has been stable. Human triggered avalanches are possible on slopes steeper than 35 degrees, especially those with recent deposits of wind blown snow. The avalanche danger on these slopes is MODERATE. Less steep slopes have a LOW danger.



            Current snow depths include 25.7” here in West Yellowstone, 38” on the Madison Plateau, 61.4” at Carrot Basin, and 76.9”” at Black Bear (8,666’). Neighboring Idaho Mountains report 14” on the ground at Henry’s Lake, 31.8” at Island Park, 61.37” at White Elephant, and 56” at Sawtelle Peak.



            Yellowstone National Park has opened for over-the-snow travel. Today continual snowfall is adding some additional base to roads throughout the Park. The constant snow showers this week have helped to add more snow to groomed roads. Road conditions are all “good,” except for Grant to the South Entrance, which is “poor.” Snow depths include 14” at Madison, 17” at Old Faithful, and 33” at Canyon.
            Jan Stoddard
            Director of Marketing & Operations

            Yellowstone Tour & Travel
            Specializing in Yellowstone Summer Experiences, Winter Snowmobile and Snowcoach Tours including Discounted Airfare
            [email protected]
            406-646-9310 (Work)
            406-640-0353 (Cell)

            Comment


            • #7
              The next big storm has hit today! A moist flow is headed our way bringing strong winds and some snow. The jet stream parked itself overhead yesterday and the winds really kicked in - at the ridgetops west to southwest winds are averaging 20-30 mph with gusts exceeding 50 mph.



              In the mountains around Cooke City these westerly winds will continue to load slopes at the higher elevations. The two avalanche fatalities last week should serve as reminders that steep slopes, especially those above treeline, are still unstable. The current wind loading and new snow forecasted today will prevent the avalanche danger from dropping. Today, the avalanche danger in the Bridger, northern Gallatin, and northern Madison Ranges is CONSIDERABLE on recently wind-loaded slopes. All other slopes will have a MODERATE danger.



              In the southern Gallatin and Madison Ranges the snowpack is still weak and unstable from a layer of surface hoar buried 3-4 feet deep. Yesterday we got a report that Sage Peak on Skyline Ridge had a large avalanche. Today the avalanche danger in the southern Gallatin, southern Madison, and Washburn Ranges, the mountains around Cooke City, and the Lionhead area near West Yellowstone is CONSIDERABLE on all wind-loaded slopes AND any slope steeper than 35 degrees. All other slopes have a MODERATE danger.



              Moonlight Basin Ski Area (Big Sky, Montana) is offering a Level 1 Avalanche Course January 13-15th. Call them at 993-6000 for all the details.



              The general avalanche hazard at mid and upper elevations in the Bridger and northern Gallatin Ranges (Jackson Hole & Teton areas) is MODERATE. The weekend snow and more recent wind transport have created soft surface slabs up to eighteen inches in depth that could be triggered on steep, wind-loaded slopes. Some potential remains to trigger deeper hard slabs to eight feet in depth by larger triggers, or in extremely steep terrain over rocky areas where shallow trigger points can be found. Avalanches are unlikely at low elevations today.



              Current snow depths include 33.8” here in West Yellowstone, 56.7” on the Madison Plateau, 70.1” at Carrot Basin, and 95.6” at Black Bear (8,666’). Neighboring Idaho Mountains report 21” on the ground at Henry’s Lake, 44.6” at Island Park, 74.5” at White Elephant, and 75” at Sawtelle Peak.



              Yellowstone National Park reports the following snow depths include 35” at the West Entrance, 23” at Madison, 34” at Old Faithful, and 39” at Canyon. If you are driving south on Highway 191 from Big Sky to West Yellowstone, watch for groups of large bull elk grazing on mountainsides and river otters playing along the creek areas.

              Jan Stoddard
              Director of Marketing & Operations

              Yellowstone Tour & Travel
              Specializing in Yellowstone Summer Experiences, Winter Snowmobile and Snowcoach Tours including Discounted Airfare
              [email protected]
              406-646-9310 (Work)
              406-640-0353 (Cell)

              Comment


              • #8
                Yellowstone National Park reports all roads in GOOD condition with light drifting on Sylvan Pass. Snow depths include 30.5” at Old Faithful, 38” at the West Entrance, and 42” at Canyon (that’s 35% more snow than last year at this same time!) Predator action in the Park has been easy to spot this winter. Our guides have spotted several wolf sightings in the past few days near Fountain Flats and a lot of coyote activity near a baby bison that died after being scalded in thermals. A beautiful red fox is in the Gibbon Meadows area. And, yesterday, one group had the rare chance to see a bobcat stalk and capture a Canadian goose near Madison Junction.



                Current snow depths include 39.3” here in West Yellowstone, 63.3” on the Madison Plateau, 75.9” at Carrot Basin, and 108” at Black Bear (8,666’). Neighboring Idaho Mountains report 23” on the ground at Henry’s Lake, 49.9” at Island Park, 77.6” at White Elephant, and 78” at Sawtelle Peak.



                Today, under mostly cloudy skies, mountain temperatures will reach the upper teens to mid-20’s F and ridgetop winds will become westerly at 20-30 mph. This evening a weather disturbance will move over southwest Montana. It should produce 3-6 inches of snow by tomorrow morning but giving way to mostly sunny skies for the first half of next week.



                The primary avalanche concern in the mountains around Bozeman, Big Sky and West Yellowstone is wind-loaded slopes steeper than 35 degrees. The avalanche danger on these slopes is CONSIDERABLE, which means human triggered avalanches are probable. Other avalanche concerns are buried surface hoar in the mountains around West Yellowstone and buried graupel in the Bridger Range. We continue to receive reports indicating that buried surface hoar near West Yellowstone continues to strengthen, as is the graupel layer in the Bridger Range. Avalanches remain a possibility on slopes where these layers exist; thus a MODERATE avalanche danger exists on non-wind loaded slopes steeper than 35 degrees. A LOW danger exists on slopes less steep than 35 degrees.



                Since Sunday, almost 2 feet of snow accumulated in the mountains around Cooke City. Ridgetop winds have been strong enough to transport snow onto the lee side of ridges and gullies. Avalanches are likely on steep wind-loaded slopes and a HIGH avalanche exists on these slopes if steeper than 35 degrees. A CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger exists on wind- loaded slopes less steep than 35 degrees. On non-wind affected slopes a CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger exists on slopes steeper than 35 degrees; less steep slopes have a MODERATE danger.





                Bridger Bowl and the ski areas around Lone Mountain reported 3 inches of new snow at 7 a.m. Ridgetop winds will move this, plus any additional snow, into wind slabs. These thicker pillows of snow will likely be easy to trigger. On slopes steeper than 35 degrees the avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE if they’ve been wind loaded and MODERATE if not. All other slopes will have great skiing and riding and a LOW danger.



                The general avalanche hazard in the Bridger and northern Gallatin Ranges (Jackson Hole & Teton areas) is MODERATE above 7500’ and LOW below that. At the mid and upper elevations soft surface slabs up to 30 inches deep formed by southwest winds exist on leeward aspects. These slabs pose a significant hazard especially at the upper elevations. Although many bold lines were skied yesterday the consequences of triggering one of these deeper slabs in steep terrain remain severe. Good terrain evaluation and decision-making skills are essential today.

                Jan Stoddard
                Director of Marketing & Operations

                Yellowstone Tour & Travel
                Specializing in Yellowstone Summer Experiences, Winter Snowmobile and Snowcoach Tours including Discounted Airfare
                [email protected]
                406-646-9310 (Work)
                406-640-0353 (Cell)

                Comment


                • #9
                  just returned from a trip to Missoula where I had trouble convincing people of just how much snow there is in West Yellowstone. While the roads may be bare in other places this winter, within 35 miles of West you enter the Winter-Zone! This winter has been a continuing series of storms dumping great powder. On Saturday the snow marker on the top of Black Bear recorded 7 1/2’ of snow but another 2’ has been added since then. This is absolutely great for powder hounds. If you are a trail rider, be prepared for deep off-trail snow.



                  Current snow depths include: 47” here in West Yellowstone, 73” on the Madison Plateau, 86” at Carrot Basin, and 122” at Black Bear (8,666’). Neighboring Idaho Mountains report 30” on the ground at Henry’s Lake, 60” at Island Park, 81” at White Elephant, and 98” at Sawtelle Peak.



                  Yellowstone National Park reports all snowmobile roads in GOOD condition except for Grant to the South Entrance with blowing & drifting snows. Snow depths include 35” at Old Faithful, 43” at the West Entrance, and 58” at Grant’s Village. Check this web site for the latest update on wolf activity in northern Yellowstone, http://www.forwolves.org/ralph/lynch...te-1-29-06.htm.



                  Today a HIGH avalanche danger exists on all wind-loaded slopes steeper than 35 degrees; less steep wind-loaded slopes have a CONSIDERABLE danger for the mountains around Cooke City and West Yellowstone, A CONSIDERABLE danger also exists on non wind-loaded slopes steeper than 35 degrees, while non wind-loaded slopes less steep than 35 degrees have a MODERATE danger.



                  The Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Advisory has this special report from Ron Johnson: “Yesterday, I was near Bacon Rind Creek in the southern Madison Range. My partner and I found surface hoar, which formed last week, is buried about a foot deep. This layer was probably responsible for several human triggered avalanches that occurred Sunday in the southern Madison Range. We found buried surface hoar on northwest to southeast aspects. On south aspects an ice crust is buried 6-12 inches deep. With more snow and wind expected during the next 24 hours, I expect avalanches will likely release on steep wind-loaded slopes.”


                  Today, with strong winds forecast, wind slabs are likely to form on the lee side of ridges and gullies in the Bridger and northern Gallatin Ranges. Human triggered avalanches are possible on these slopes. Today, a MODERATE avalanche danger exists on recently wind-loaded slopes steeper than 35 degrees. A LOW danger exists on all other slopes.



                  The Bridger-Teton National Forests (Jackson Hole & Teton areas) The General Avalanche Hazard at the mid and upper elevations is CONSIDERABLE and will increase through the day. Yesterday,
                  with a foot of new snow and strong winds, slides were triggered on north to east facing slopes. Similar or larger events are likely today with forecasted strong winds and heavy morning snowfall rates. The general avalanche hazard at low elevations will increase to MODERATE today. Natural slides occurred yesterday at low elevations on the Wilson Faces (east facing) and in the Snake River Canyon when the sun rapidly warmed those slopes. Warm low elevation temperatures and a chance of rain may cause natural slides and make them easier to trigger by travelers.
                  Jan Stoddard
                  Director of Marketing & Operations

                  Yellowstone Tour & Travel
                  Specializing in Yellowstone Summer Experiences, Winter Snowmobile and Snowcoach Tours including Discounted Airfare
                  [email protected]
                  406-646-9310 (Work)
                  406-640-0353 (Cell)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I wouldn't mind spending my winters out there
                    Ride it like a Rental

                    "Fear" : A balencing act between Normalcy and Idiocity, ...It Parelizes the Majority,... But give's Clarity to some.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Winter has returned to West Yellowstone! Current snow depths include 7.1” here in West Yellowstone, NR on the Madison Plateau, 22.1” at Carrot Basin, and NR at Black Bear (8,666’). Neighboring Idaho Mountains report 2” on the ground at Henry’s Lake, 8.3” at Island Park, 17.3” at White Elephant, and 23” at Sawtelle Peak.

                      Last week’s warm temperatures formed an ice crust which is now buried under new snow. Avalanches will most likely release on the interface between the new snow and the ice crust. Monday, ski patrollers at Big Sky triggered an avalanche on a steep slope where a 6-14 inch thick slab was deposited on an ice crust. Fractures readily propagated 50-60 feet across the slope. In the mountains around Big Sky, West Yellowstone, and Cooke City, the ice crust could be buried 2-3 feet deep on recently wind-loaded slopes. These slopes should be approached with extra caution. Only a few inches of snow fell in the mountains around Bozeman, but 1-2 foot thick wind slabs likely abound on the lee side of ridges and gullies. Recent avalanche activity, collapsing or cracking of the snowpack underfoot or even an uncomfortable feeling you have about the snowpack stability are all good reasons to choose low angled slopes as you enjoy the pursuit of early winter recreation opportunities.

                      Daily trail grooming in the National Forests is set to resume December 1st. Yellowstone National Park is now closed for the season to over the snow vehicles. The West gate will re-open on Wednesday, December 20th for snowmobile and snowcoach tours.

                      Interested in an avalanche taught by the best experts in Montana? The Friends of the Avalanche Center will offer a Basic Avalanche Awareness Workshop specifically for snowmobilers in West Yellowstone, Montana. Topics covered include: avalanche terrain recognition, the affect weather has on avalanche hazard, the development of the mountain snowpack, decision making skills, and basic search and rescue procedures. Participants in the field session will need a reliable snowmachine and basic mountain riding skills. An avalanche rescue beacon and shovel is required. There is no cost for this workshop; however, a $30.00 donation to The Friends Of The Avalanche Center is requested.
                      * West Yellowstone; Conference Hotel; Saturday, December 16th 12 noon to 5pm with an all day field session on Sunday, December 17th.
                      * West Yellowstone; Conference Hotel; Saturday, January 6th 12 noon to 5pm with an all day field session on Sunday, January 7th.

                      Jan Stoddard, Marketing & Director
                      406-646-9310
                      [email protected]
                      Yellowstone Tour & Travel
                      Specializing in Yellowstone Travel Adventures

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sounds like heven on earth to me.........................
                        Ride it like a Rental

                        "Fear" : A balencing act between Normalcy and Idiocity, ...It Parelizes the Majority,... But give's Clarity to some.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Winter has returned to West Yellowstone! Current snow depths include 28.5” here in West Yellowstone, 11” on the Madison Plateau, 29” at Carrot Basin, and 39.3” at Black Bear (8,666’). Neighboring Idaho Mountains report 2” on the ground at Henry’s Lake, 7” at Island Park, 25.3” at White Elephant, and 23” at Sawtelle Peak. (Head’s up to the Savage Fire guys coming out after Christmas – yep, we can sled right from our houses in West.)

                          Total snow depth at 8-9,000 feet ranges from 2 feet in the Bridgers to over 3 feet outside Cooke City. The cold weather over the past week has started to weaken the snow on the ground by changing the fluffy snowflakes into angular, faceted crystals. With cold temperatures and no new snow forecasted, this trend will likely continue.

                          Across southwest Montana, the biggest avalanche concern is going to be near the ridge tops where wind slabs will be sitting on this weaker, potentially unstable snow. Otherwise field reports from Cooke City, the Lionshead area near West Yellowstone and the northern Gallatin Range indicate relatively stable conditions. A trusted observer found surprisingly good skiing up Big Bear in the Gallatin’s on 3 feet of snow at 9,000 feet. Another person reported stable conditions and good turns outside Cooke City last week.

                          With the new snow over the last 48 hours the sliding and riding is getting better at the higher elevations, however the cold temperatures are weakening the snowpack, which could pose a problem down the line. Watch out for obstacles as you carve and stay off of slabby wind drifts near the ridge tops.

                          Daily trail grooming in the National Forests is set to resume December 1st. Yellowstone National Park is now closed for the season to over the snow vehicles. The West gate will re-open on Wednesday, December 20th for snowmobile and snowcoach tours.

                          Interested in an avalanche taught by the best experts in Montana? The Friends of the Avalanche Center will offer a Basic Avalanche Awareness Workshop specifically for snowmobilers in West Yellowstone, Montana. Topics covered include: avalanche terrain recognition, the affect weather has on avalanche hazard, the development of the mountain snowpack, decision making skills, and basic search and rescue procedures. Participants in the field session will need a reliable snowmachine and basic mountain riding skills. An avalanche rescue beacon and shovel is required. There is no cost for this workshop; however, a $30.00 donation to The Friends of the Avalanche Center is requested.

                          * West Yellowstone; Conference Hotel; Saturday, December 16th 12 noon to 5pm with an all day field session on Sunday, December 17th.

                          * West Yellowstone; Conference Hotel; Saturday, January 6th 12 noon to 5pm with an all day field session on Sunday, January 7th.


                          Jan Stoddard, Marketing & Director
                          406-646-9310
                          [email protected]
                          Yellowstone Tour & Travel
                          Specializing in Yellowstone Travel Adventures

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Greetings from a chilly West Yellowstone -21 degrees this morning, but warming up fast! Current snow depths include 17.1” here in West Yellowstone, 19” on the Madison Plateau, 36.3” at Carrot Basin, and 49.8” at Black Bear (8,666’). Neighboring Idaho Mountains report 6” on the ground at Henry’s Lake, 22.6” at Island Park, 32.8” at White Elephant, and 28” at Sawtelle Peak.



                            Avalanche forecast for the Bridger and northern Gallatin and northern Madison Ranges: Since Saturday, the ski areas around Lone Peak in the Madison Range have been getting sizable slides and backcountry skiers in the Gallatin Range have noted collapsing and cracking of the snowpack. The common theme is facets sitting on the November ice crust. However, things are tricky out there. We’ve got varying snow depths with varying degrees of instability. Some areas have weak snow underlying the entire slope while others only have pockets of instability. Even the ski areas are reporting a difficult time getting a handle on things. Without new snow or strong winds the avalanche danger isn’t getting worse. But buried facets are persistent and won’t be leaving us anytime soon. For today, a CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger exists on all wind-loaded slopes and a MODERATE avalanche danger exists everywhere else.



                            Avalanche forecast for the southern Gallatin and southern Madison Ranges, including the Lionshead area near West Yellowstone: The southern mountains have a layer of surface hoar buried a foot deep. If that’s not bad enough, some slopes even have a second layer 8-12 inches under the first. On Sunday we saw a few small slides in Taylor Fork in the southern Madison Range that fractured on this upper layer. These appeared to be human triggered and we used these as a “heads-up” to stay off of bigger, steeper slopes. (Same conditions found in Lionshead.) For today, a HIGH avalanche danger exists on wind-loaded slopes steeper than 35 degrees and a CONSIDERABLE danger exists on all other slopes.



                            The mountains around Cooke City have not received any snow since Saturday and the winds have died down too. But don’t let the sunny weather lull you into a false sense of security. A snowmobiler died on Saturday on a slide on Scotch Bonnet. He was trying to free his stuck sled when another rider triggered the slide. The slope was steep and wind-loaded. There are still plenty of slopes that you could trigger, so you’ll want to ride or ski conservatively. For today, a HIGH avalanche danger exists on wind-loaded slopes steeper than 35 degrees. A CONSIDERABLE avalanche danger exists on less steep wind-loaded slopes. All non-wind loaded slopes have a MODERATE avalanche danger. And please remember to only put one person at a time on a slope.



                            The General Avalanche Hazard for the Teton-Bridger National Forests is CONSIDERABLE at Upper elevations where dangerous slabs up to 4 feet in depth remain susceptible to human triggers on a variety of aspects. As the snowpack continues to stabilize, larger triggers may be necessary to initiate a slide, like the second or later person or sled on a slope. The Hazard will increase somewhat in the afternoon due to expected warming that will weaken the snowpack. At Mid elevations the Hazard is MODERATE. Potential dangerous slides are possible but less widespread. The Hazard is LOW at Low elevations due to thin snow cover and crusts.



                            Yellowstone National Park West gate will re-open on Wednesday, December 20th for snowmobile and snowcoach tours.


                            Jan Stoddard, Marketing & Director
                            406-646-9310
                            [email protected]
                            Yellowstone Tour & Travel
                            Specializing in Yellowstone Travel Adventures

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The southern Madison and Gallatin Ranges have gotten 6-8 inches in the last 36 hours with strong westerly winds. A moist and warm southwest flow will continue to bring cloudy skies with mountain temperatures near freezing. This weekend’s powdery snow is compacting at lower and middle elevations. Current snow depths include 18.1” here in West Yellowstone, 21” on the Madison Plateau, 40.6” at Carrot Basin, and 55.2” at Black Bear (8,666’). Neighboring Idaho Mountains report 6”on the ground at Henry’s Lake, 25.2” at Island Park, 36.2” at White Elephant, 28.1” Pine Creek Pass.



                              Yellowstone National Park West gate is open for both snowmobile and snowcoach traffic. The recent snows are upgrading most roads from fair to good. (The East entrance is now open.) Snow depths include 20” at Old Faithful, 16” at the West Entrance, and 21” at Canyon.



                              Avalanche forecast for the Bridger and northern Gallatin and northern Madison Ranges: The mountains outside Cooke City got 2 more inches last night. Westerly winds at 30 m.p.h. are blowing this snow, plus the 6 inches from Saturday, onto leeward slopes. Even though these mountains do not have as many buried facets as other ranges, the recent snows and winds are creating unstable conditions on steep, open slopes.



                              For today, the avalanche danger on wind-loaded slopes is CONSIDERABLE if they’re steeper than 35 degrees and MODERATE if lower angled. On slopes without any wind-load, the avalanche danger is MODERATE on slopes steeper than 35 degrees and LOW everywhere else.

                              Avalanche forecast for the southern Gallatin and southern Madison Ranges, including the Lionshead area near West Yellowstone: Yesterday, a skier reported unstable conditions around Bacon Rind from the wind-loading. The layer of buried surface hoar is a problem on slopes where there’s been wind drifts placed on top of it. Based on these findings, plus the instabilities reported yesterday, the avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on all recently wind-loaded slopes. Non wind-loaded slopes in these mountains have a MODERATE danger.



                              The General Avalanche Hazard for the Teton-Bridger National Forests is MODERATE at Upper elevations this morning and will rise to CONSIDERABLE by mid afternoon. The Hazard is MODERATE at Mid elevations and LOW at Lower elevations. Strong winds have moved available snow from Sunday's storm into pockets of sensitive slabs on lee slopes at upper elevations. Forecasted snow and high winds will rapidly increase the size and distribution of the slabs. Below 7,500 feet a shallow, early season snowpack exists and avalanches are unlikely.

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