Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Season's First Avalanche Advisory! There's enough snow to ski!!

Current Avalanche Advisory


Good Morning. This is Doug Chabot with the season’s first Avalanche Information Bulletin from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center issued at 10 a.m. on Sunday, October 12th. We will keep updating you on snowpack and avalanche information as conditions warrant.


If there’s enough snow to ski, there’s enough snow to avalanche.

There you have it—an early season advisory in 11 words.

Since Friday morning about 24 inches has fallen in southwest Montana. Snotel sites (found here: ) are showing about half that amount outside West Yellowstone and Cooke City. With temperatures holding in the low teens, wind speeds have been 10-25 mph out of the northeast, which will definitely create wind slabs at the higher elevations.


Treat your early season skiing excursions with the same diligence and preparation you’d use mid-winter. Carry rescue gear, travel with a partner and only travel one at a time in avalanche terrain. Wind slabs could easily be 1-2 feet thick with limb busting consequences if you get caught.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be paying close attention to how this new snow changes. If the temperatures stay cold and the storms stop the snow will turn into faceted crystals—angular flakes of snow that could create a very weak and unstable base for the rest of the winters storms. At the moment it’s just guesswork, like the recent political polls, or the stability of Wall Street. It could go either way.


Since many hunters travel solo, do not carry avalanche rescue gear and focus their energies on game instead of snow, they are susceptible to getting caught in a slide. It’s not unusual for hunters to trigger avalanches this time of year. Be wary of crossing any wind-loaded gullies. Hunters need to avoid avalanche terrain—any snow covered open slope steeper than 30 degrees.

I will send out Avalanche Information bulletins as conditions warrant. In the meantime, play it safe and don’t get injured! We’re always interested in your backcountry observations so drop us an email at or leave us a phone message at 587-6984.

10th Annual POWDER BLAST

Friday, October 24th

6:30-10:30 pm at the Emerson Cultural Center

The Friends of the Avalanche Center in conjunction with Sweet Pea’s Nursery will be holding the 10th annual Powder Blast. A $30 donation gets you food from Bountiful Table, two drink coupons for beverages from Blackfoot River Brewing, music by Western Skies and, of course, an amazing silent auction.

This event has sold out days in advance for the last 2 years, so get your tickets early! You can buy them at Barrel Mountaineering, Northern Lights Trading Company, PhD Skis, Team Bozeman, Gallatin Alpine Sports and Timber Trails.

Further financial support for the Powder Blast comes from On Site Management.


It’s not too early to start thinking about taking and avalanche class. We’ve got new listings every week, so check out or calendar on the web and plan on attending one for an annual avalanche tune-up.

Gallatin National Forest AVALANCHE CENTER | 10 E. Babcock St. | Bozeman, Montana 59715 | | Recorded Information: 587-6981 | Office: 587-6984

1 comment:

Liat said...

Cool post today! Very informative.