GNFAC Avalanche Forecast for Mon Feb 6, 2023

GNFAC Avalanche Forecast for Mon Feb 6, 2023

Good morning. This is Alex Marienthal with the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Forecast on Monday, February 6th at 7:00 a.m. This information is sponsored by Spark R&D and Bozeman Splitfest. This forecast does not apply to operating ski areas.

Mountain Weather

The mountains have 4-7” of low-density new snow. SNOTEL stations are not reporting, so near West Yellowstone, Cooke City and Hyalite snow totals are a guess. This morning temperatures are teens F. Wind shifted to west-northwest at 10-20 mph with gusts of 25-40 mph. Today temperatures will reach low 20s F with northwest wind blowing 15-30 mph. Snow will continue near Bozeman and Big Sky this morning with another 1-3” while skies gradually clear elsewhere.

Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion

All Regions

Northwest-west wind is drifting new snow into thicker slabs. These wind slabs can avalanche under the weight of a person and add weight to buried weak layers which makes large, human-triggered avalanches likely on wind-loaded slopes. Weak layers of sugary facets and feathery surface hoar are buried 1-3 feet below last weekend’s snow and contributed to human-triggered avalanches as recently as Thursday and Friday.

Recent avalanches include two skier triggered (details 1, details 2) and one snowmobile triggered near Big Sky (details and video). Last Friday near Cooke City, a skier triggered a slide and was partially buried to their waist on Fisher Mountain (details), and a rider triggered a small slide near Mt. Abundance (details). I found buried surface hoar in the northern Gallatin Range on Friday (video) and near Big Sky on Saturday (video). Yesterday near Cooke City I found a thick layer of weak facets buried a foot deep that probably contributed to the recent skier triggered slide on Fisher (Cooke video).

Today, slopes that have fresh drifts of snow are dangerous and should be avoided. On non-wind loaded slopes avalanches are less likely, but still possible. Carefully evaluate snowpack stability and only ride or cross steep slopes if you are sure there are no buried weak layers or fresh drifts. Today the avalanche danger is CONSIDERABLE on wind-loaded slopes and MODERATE on non-wind loaded slopes.

Please share avalanche, snowpack or weather observations via our website, email (mtavalanche@gmail.com), phone (406-587-6984), or Instagram (#gnfacobs).  

Northwest-west wind is drifting new snow into thicker slabs. These wind slabs can avalanche under the weight of a person and add weight to buried weak layers which makes large, human-triggered avalanches likely on wind-loaded slopes. Slopes that have fresh drifts of snow are dangerous and should be avoided. On non-wind loaded slopes avalanches are less likely, but still possible. Carefully evaluate snowpack stability and only ride steep slopes if you are sure there are no buried weak layers or fresh drifts.

King and Queen of the Ridge Results

Thank you and great work to everyone who participated in this year’s King and Queen of the Ridge event. This year we set a fund-raising record of $31,626! We greatly appreciate the support from everyone who hiked, donated, and raised money for The Friends of GNFAC. The King of the Ridge for the second year in a row is Casey Bloomer, with a record 34 hikes, and Queen is Rachel Topf, with 23 hikes! Full Results Here.

This year's top 3 fundraisers were Dash Rodman (1) and Matt Sebren (2) of team Cooke City Exxon and Janis Putelis (3) of team Highline Partners/ New Age Artisans. The top three fundraising teams were Cooke City Exxon, Highline Partners/ New Age Artisans and team Science Saves Lives.

Upcoming Avalanche Education and Events

Our education calendar is full of awareness lectures and field courses. Check it out: Events and Education Calendar.

February 9, FREE Avalanche Awareness at REI Bozeman. More details to come.

February 11, 10 a.m.-2p.m. Companion Rescue Clinic Field Day in the Bozeman area. Required Online Classroom Session at 6 p.m. on Feb 10. Information and course registration are HERE.

February 16, FREE Avalanche Awareness night for women at REI Bozeman. Time TBD.

March 3-5, Bozeman Splitfest. More info and register here.

Every Saturday, 10 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Avalanche Rescue Training, drop in for any amount of time. Round Lake Warming Hut, Cooke City. Free.

Loss in the Outdoors, is a support group for those who have been affected by grief and loss related to outdoor pursuits. Check out the link for more information.

The Last Word

Bruce Jamieson’s videos on Snow Science explain heady topics to the layman. Understanding the avalanche dragon helps keep us alive.

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