Regional Conditions for Centennial Range

as of 5:00 am
Today1″ | NA
Jan 15 0″ | 5-15 S
Jan 14 4″ | 10-25 NW
8775′     1/15 at 3:00
10 ℉
S - 4 mph
Gusts 11 mph
7750′   01/16 at 9:00
17℉
36″ Depth
Bottom Line: Our main concern is a layer of sugary facets buried 2-3’ deep. Now in addition, the recent snowfall buried a weak layer of surface hoar 6-12” deep that may avalanche. It is worth digging to see if these layers exist prior to traveling on steep slopes, and to track their location as they could avalanche with the next round of snow. Careful snowpack evaluation and cautious route finding are essential.
Primary Problem: Persistent Weak Layer

Snow Observations- Centennial Range & Lionhead

Cooke City
Republic Creek
Republic Creek, Woody Ridge Zone 2

We did a short tour yesterday in the middle of the storm into the Republic Creek drainage. Skies were overcast with light to heavy snow falling at times. Winds were gusting at times 60-80 mph, enough to blow you over if you weren't careful. Variable snowpack, wet and heavy down low until about 8800 feet then it got colder and less dense but was blowing around all over the place. The new snow was setting up very slabby in places with cracking expanding outward from the skin track and storm snow easily sliding at every kick turn. We did not dig a pit and instead opted to bail out at about 9400 feet and ski tighter trees back down to the creek bottom and home. The winds had stripped snow on the windward side with some larger drifts on the leeward side. However, in the basin, winds were coming from every direction at times. Not a very scientific observation but wanted to share what it was like in the storm up there yesterday. Caution really needs to be practiced as there are dense storm slabs sitting on large surface hoar/facets that had setup from the days of high pressure and winds may have deposited large amounts of snow in places.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
CENTENNIAL RANGE
Tin Cup Pass-Mt. Jefferson-Centennials
Incident details include images

Rain crust is still very present in the snowpack. Two natural slab avalanches on north aspect of Reas Peak, one from recent storm and one from previous storm. Photo is from a snowmobile triggered avalanche from 1/9/21, you can see the party and one of the members riding the adjacent slope. Snowpit attached as well.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
Tin Cup Creek/Willow Creek Drainage

Yesterday I snowmobiled form the Keg Springs trailhead to Tin Cup Pass on Willow Creek. From the limited visibility we did not see any natural avalanche activity. We dug one pit on the Idaho side of the Centennials and found the total snow depth was 70cm and there were 2 distinct crusts in the snowpack and a fair amount of depth hoar. The pit profile was as follows:

70cm-55cm First Hardness
54cm-50cm 4 Finger
49cm-48cm Knife
47cm-25cm Fist (facets)
24cm-23cm Knife
22cm-0cm Fist (depth hoar)

Test Results: ECTN 12@49CM, ECTN 14@24CM

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
Centennials - Idaho
Island Park South West Aspect Tyler Creek Area
Incident details include images

Seemingly unsafe snowpack here in island park. A few very firm crust layers. One facet layer near the base which propagated. Two crust layers, both knife hardness, were stacked in each other with a small amount of facets between them. This layer went on CTE 8. I wasn't able to attach it but I will send it separately. We weren't in avalanche terrain today so there were no other observations.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
CENTENNIAL RANGE
Near Sawtelle Peak
Incident details include images

Road cut south facing slope of 42 degrees, triggered intentionally by a guide, shows about 12 inches of windblown soft slab on top of a faceted layer (in this case more extreme due to aspect and inclination toward the sun) but was triggered only by chopping a hand into the snow a few times. This same faceted layer (the uppermost layer of a thick faceted layer of 1-2 fee) exists throughout the snowpack.

Also, the bottom-most layers of snow are very faceted and conditions have not occurred yet to set the snow for a base. Walking around your feet go right to the ground even in areas where snow is 2+ feet deep. There are many rock/tree hazards lurking under the soft snow because of this, two people in our group damaged their a-arms.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
CENTENNIAL RANGE
Near Sawtelle Peak
Incident details include images

Lower elevation plateau with low snow accumulation due to consistent wind-scouring, consists of about a foot of faceted snow with a dense wind-blown slab on top.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
Ski Hill
Getting worse at Lionhead and Centennials

Both the Lionhead area and the nearby Centennial Range in Idaho have a similar snowpack. About 20-25" are on the ground consisting of weak, faceted, sugary snow. Riding is supportable, but we tiptoed around Lionhead because of rocks.Snow and wind are forecasted in the oming week. This snowpack will become unstable quickly. I expect to see cracking, whumpfs and recent avalanche activity. Small avalanhes on road cuts or creek banks are bulls-eye data that big avalanches are likely. Be careful, pay attention and stay clear of creeks and other terrain traps where even a small slide can be deadly. We made a video that outlines our concern which is posted on the Centennials page.

Full Snow Observation Report
Centennial Range
Centennials - Montana
Hellroaring
Incident details include images

Observed 24" of snow in leeward aspects at an elevation of 7700'. West faces above 7000' appeared scoured and bare to the ground, limited coverage. In sheltered south facing areas where snow hadn't been scoured, a stout breakable crust existed near the surface. Old snow snow was faceted to the ground, ski poles easily penetrating dirt. Below 7000' skiing was not possible due to low coverage, relegating our party to skin on the summer trailhead in and out of Hellroaring.

Full Snow Observation Report

Avalanche Activity- Centennial Range & Lionhead

Lionhead Range
Lionhead Ridge
Many snowmobile triggered slides at Lionhead
Incident details include images
Incident details contain video
Lionhead Ridge
SS-AMu-R2-D2-O
Elevation: 9,000
Coordinates: 44.7145, -111.3180
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Many snowmobile triggered avalanches were observed after new snow overloaded a very weak snowpack.


More Avalanche Details
Centennial Range
CENTENNIAL RANGE
Sledder triggered slide and 2 naturals in Centennials
Incident details include images
CENTENNIAL RANGE
SS-AM-R2-D2
Coordinates: 44.5476, -111.5250
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From obs: "...Two natural slab avalanches on north aspect of Reas Peak, one from recent storm and one from previous storm. Photo is from a snowmobile triggered avalanche from 1/9/21, you can see the party and one of the members riding the adjacent slope."


More Avalanche Details
Northern Madison
Buck Ridge
Snowmobile triggered slides (2) on Buck Ridge
Incident details include images
Buck Ridge
HS-AMu-R3-D2-O
Elevation: 9,300
Aspect: NE
Coordinates: 45.1719, -111.3800
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

We saw two large snowmobile triggered avalanches (and one very large, in separate record) that occurred on January 7, 2021. They broke on weak, sugary snow below hard wind drifted snow and recent new snow.


More Avalanche Details

Photos- Centennial Range & Lionhead

Displaying 1 - 18
  • A snowmobiler triggered slide on the east side of Lionhead Ridge to the north of Airplane Bowl. Photo: Photo: D. Haluptzok

  • A snowmobiler triggered slide on the east side of Lionhead Ridge adjacent to a slope called Dead Tree Hill. Photo: D. Haluptzok

  • From obs: "Rain crust is still very present in the snowpack. Two natural slab avalanches on north aspect of Reas Peak, one from recent storm and one from previous storm. Photo is from a snowmobile triggered avalanche from 1/9/21, you can see the party and one of the members riding the adjacent slope." Photo: C. Hericks

  • We remotely triggered (from 30' away) this avalanche at Ski Hill in the Lionhead area. These are red-flags! Stay off of and out from under steep slopes until the avalanche conditions improve. Photo: GNFAC

  • We triggered this avalanche from 50 feet away. We were walking on a low-angle slope, collapsed the slope, and where the pitch got steeper, we had an avalanche. This is an obvious sign of dangerous instability. If you are on steep slopes it is LIKELY that you will trigger an avalanche. Today, we triggered two avalanches. Photo: GNFAC

  • A skier kicked off a larger than expected cornice as they skinned up the ridge on the W side of Beehive basin on Sunday (12/20/20).

  • Doug intentionally triggered this wind-loaded sidehill. Weak, faceted snow broke under a 1' deep soft slab of windblown snow. Small avalanches like this are indicators of instability on bigger slopes. These conditions can be found throughout the southern Gallatin, southern Madison, Lionhead and Centennial Ranges. Photo: GNFAC

  • We put up the Taylor Fork Weather station today. It measures wind direction and speed, RH, and temperature. Coupled with the Carrot Basin SNOTEL, this gives us a good idea on what is occurring in this range. Photo GNFAC

  • Light wind created soft drifts of new, low density snow near the ridgeline in the Bridger Range. This wind slab easily cracked when touched with skis, 20 feet along the ridge and 5-10 feet down, but didn't slide. This is a sign drifts will be unstable as they grow with more snow and wind. Photo: GNFAC

  • From IG post: "Weak and thin snowpack. A little sluff was all it took to entrain the whole season’s snowpack. S. Madison ~9000’ east facing" Photo: @vt.to.mt

  • From IG post: "Weak and thin snowpack. A little sluff was all it took to entrain the whole season’s snowpack. S. Madison ~9000’ east facing" Photo: @vt.to.mt

  • We found a thick layer of surface hoar (1-2cm) on top of the snowpack at Lionhead Ridge on 11/24/20. Below that layer the snowpack was faceted and weak. This will be an unstable foundation for future storms. Photo: GNFAC

  • Watch the video HERE!

  • The BBWC (Bridger Bowl Wind Cloud) on Tuesday 10/27 accompanied 50-60 mph gusts. This strong wind drifted recent snow into slabs that could avalanche on steep slopes. Early season snow means we need to be thinking about and managing avalanche hazard when we travel in the mountains. Photo: GNFAC

  • Backcountry.com did a social media survey and found that many of us could use an avalanche class. Don't hesitate to sign up for one. Even a one-hour avalanche awareness class is a great place to start. Check out our Education Calendar for an expanding list of classes being offered in southwest Montana. Many are free.

  • Wind was blowing and drifting recent snow in the Bridger Range the morning of October 15th. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • Snow on Lone Mtn. on the morning of October 14th. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • By morning of October 11 most mountain ranges were white at the higher elevations. This picture of Saddle Peak was taken from Stone Creek up Bridger Canyon. About .6-.8" of precipitation fell throughout southwest Montana. The Fisher Creek Snotel outside of Cooke City shows 6" of snow fell at 9,100 feet. Only time will tell what melts and what sticks around, but it sure is a good sign! Photo: GNFAC

Weather Forecast- Centennial Range

Extended Forecast for

10 Miles ESE Lakeview MT

  • Today

    Today: Partly sunny, with a high near 21. Wind chill values as low as zero. West wind around 11 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

    Partly Sunny

    High: 21 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: A 30 percent chance of snow after 4am.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 11. Wind chill values as low as -5. Southwest wind 10 to 13 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Mostly Cloudy
    then Chance
    Snow

    Low: 11 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: Snow, mainly after 11am.  Patchy blowing snow after 11am. High near 21. Wind chill values as low as zero. South wind 11 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

    Snow and
    Patchy
    Blowing Snow

    High: 21 °F

  • Sunday
    Night

    Sunday Night: Snow likely, mainly before 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 13. Wind chill values as low as zero. South southwest wind 11 to 17 mph becoming west northwest after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 24 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

    Snow Likely

    Low: 13 °F

  • M.L.King
    Day

    M.L.King Day: A 50 percent chance of snow.  Partly sunny, with a high near 21. North northwest wind 11 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    High: 21 °F

  • Monday
    Night

    Monday Night: A 20 percent chance of snow before 11pm.  Mostly clear, with a low around 4. North wind 13 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow then
    Mostly Clear

    Low: 4 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: Sunny, with a high near 19. North wind 11 to 13 mph becoming west southwest in the afternoon.

    Sunny

    High: 19 °F

  • Tuesday
    Night

    Tuesday Night: A chance of snow after 11pm.  Partly cloudy, with a low around 7. South wind 11 to 13 mph.

    Chance Snow

    Low: 7 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: A chance of snow.  Partly sunny, with a high near 18.

    Chance Snow

    High: 18 °F

The Last Word

Ski-Doo is offering free avalanche education classes online that you can take here: https://www.ski-doo.com/avalanche.html