Regional Conditions for Southern Madison

as of 5:00 am
Today2″ | 5-30 WNW
Jan 15 0″ | 15-30 NW
Jan 14 3″ | 15-30 W
9460′     01/16 at 09:00
13.3℉
SW - 6mph
Gusts 14mph
9000′   01/16 at 9:00
16℉
48″ 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

Past 5 Days

Tue Jan 12

Moderate
Wed Jan 13

Considerable
Thu Jan 14

Considerable
Fri Jan 15

Moderate
Today

Moderate

Avalanche Activity- Southern Madison

Southern Madison
Taylor Fork
Natural Avalanches, Taylor Fork
Incident details include images
Incident details contain video
Taylor Fork
SS-N-R2-D2
Elevation: 9,000
Coordinates: 45.0607, -111.2720
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

There were 10 natural avalanches from Wednesday's snow and wind and event in the Taylor Fork. All were small to medium size. Many broke at the new snow interface, some broke deeper on weak facets near the ground. 


More Avalanche Details
Southern Madison
Bacon Rind
Whumphing and old avalanche at Bacon Rind
Incident details include images
Bacon Rind
Coordinates: 44.9609, -111.1000
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From email: "...I found a small piece of this mostly low angle slope to have avalanched, probably from a day or two ago, a handful of older tracks were near it. I measure most of this slope around 26-28 degrees... This is on the farthest south part of the top meadow. An epic amount of whumphs up there, I stopped counting after I got to 10 on my second switch back. Our best one knocked snow out of a tree 100’ away. It feels like remote triggering is a very real possibility. Skies were more overcast than expected. While it never went blue, the sun poked out a little in the afternoon. Cold temps, 0F in the AM, warmed to 24F in the PM. 5-6mm surface hoar everywhere,..." 


More Avalanche Details
Southern Madison
Ernie Miller Ridge
Widespread Collapsing on Ernest Miller Ridge
Ernie Miller Ridge
Coordinates: 44.9560, -111.1320
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From obs: "We were heading for Ernie Miller Ridge, but got deterred by our group hearing MORE COLLAPSES AND SETTLEMENTS THAN I'VE EVER HEARD IN A SINGLE TRIP, in over 23 years of backcountry skiing. Some in the open, some in the woods. Some small, some HUGE and FAR running. Some heard by the person in front, some by the 4th in our party, some where we were following an old skin track, some where we were in fresh snow. As a group we probably heard 25 over the course of the day. We didn't dig any formal pits, as the snow was telling us all we needed to know. Stay safe out there. Thanks"


More Avalanche Details

Photos- Southern Madison

Displaying 1 - 39
  • Small, natural avalanche on a wind-loaded slope in Carrot Basin in the Taylor Fork. Photo: GNFAC

  • Small avalanche on the Sage Basin Ridgeline in the Taylor Fork. Photo: GNFAC

  • Natural avalanches on Lightning Ridge. There were 10 natural avalanches from Wednesday's snow and wind and event in the Taylor Fork. Photo: GNFAC

  • A pair of avalanches on Lightning Ridge. There were 10 natural avalanches from Wednesday's snow and wind and event in the Taylor Fork. Photo: GNFAC

  • Avalanche in Sunlight Basin. There were 10 natural avalanches from Wednesday's snow and wind and event in the Taylor Fork. Photo: GNFAC

  • Avalanche in Sunlight Basin. There were 10 natural avalanches from Wednesday's snow and wind and event in the Taylor Fork. Photo: GNFAC

  • We looked at the avalanche in Hyalite that was triggered on Saturday 1/9/21. The slope angle was 33-35 degrees. It broke 2-3’ deep on weak facets below a hard slab, 1000’ wide and the debris was 5-9’ deep. East aspect, 9,800’ elevation. Photo: GNFAC

  • Skiers triggered this avalanche on Flanders Mountain on 1/9/21. It was triggered out of the photo to the right on a seperate slope around the corner. It propagated over 1000' wide, and 2-4' deep. Photo: GNFAC

  • From email: "...I found a small piece of this mostly low angle slope to have avalanched, probably from a day or two ago, a handful of older tracks were near it. I measure most of this slope around 26-28 degrees... This is on the farthest south part of the top meadow. An epic amount of whumphs up there, I stopped counting after I got to 10 on my second switch back. Our best one knocked snow out of a tree 100’ away. It feels like remote triggering is a very real possibility. Skies were more overcast than expected. While it never went blue, the sun poked out a little in the afternoon. Cold temps, 0F in the AM, warmed to 24F in the PM. 5-6mm surface hoar everywhere,..." Photo: S. Jonas

  • From email: "...I found a small piece of this mostly low angle slope to have avalanched, probably from a day or two ago, a handful of older tracks were near it. I measure most of this slope around 26-28 degrees... This is on the farthest south part of the top meadow. An epic amount of whumphs up there, I stopped counting after I got to 10 on my second switch back. Our best one knocked snow out of a tree 100’ away. It feels like remote triggering is a very real possibility. Skies were more overcast than expected. While it never went blue, the sun poked out a little in the afternoon. Cold temps, 0F in the AM, warmed to 24F in the PM. 5-6mm surface hoar everywhere,..." Photo: S. Jonas

  • Skiers triggered this avalanche on Flanders Mountain on 1/9/21. It was triggered out of the photo to the right on a seperate slope around the corner. It propagated over 1000' wide, and looks to be 6' deep at deepest. Photo: A. Blackmer

  • We saw this relatively very large, full width avalanches that was triggered on January 7, 2021. It broke on weak, sugary snow below hard wind drifted snow and recent new snow.

  • We saw this relatively very large, full width avalanches that was triggered on January 7, 2021. It broke on weak, sugary snow below hard wind drifted snow and recent new snow. Photo: GNFAC

  • On 1/8/21 we saw this snowmobile triggered avalanches that occurred on January 7, 2021. It broke on weak, sugary snow below hard wind drifted snow and recent new snow. Photo: GNFAC

  • From obs: "Shooting cracks and collapsing on the entire ascent to the Cinnamon Creek Lookout. Remotely triggered a R2-D2.5 on descent. 2-3 foot crown. Slide path was on an East facing slope at 9000ft. Failed on the same persistent weak layer being seen across most regions of the forecast zone."

  • One of many avalanches on the Sage Basin Ridgeline. These were on east through northeast facing slopes at 9300' elevation. The avalanches failed on the weak facets near the ground. Photo: GNFAC

  • One of many avalanches on the Sage Basin Ridgeline. These were on east through northeast facing slopes at 9300' elevation. The avalanches failed on the weak facets near the ground. Photo: GNFAC

  • One of many avalanches on the Sage Basin Ridgeline. These were on east through northeast facing slopes at 9300' elevation. The avalanches failed on the weak facets near the ground. Photo: GNFAC

  • One of many avalanches on the Sage Basin Ridgeline. These were on east through northeast facing slopes at 9300' elevation. They avalanches failed on the weak facets near the ground. Photo: GNFAC

  • We triggered numerous collapses or "whumphs" in the Taylor Fork. Some had associated shooting cracks that propagated up to 20 feet from the point of initiation. Photo: GNFAC

  • We observed two natural avalanches that likely failed 2-3 days ago in the Sunlight Basin in the Taylor Fork. They broke ~150-250 feet wide and ran 250 vertical feet. Photo: GNFAC

  • We observed two natural avalanches that likely failed 2-3 days ago in the Sunlight Basin in the Taylor Fork. They broke ~150-250 feet wide and ran 250 vertical feet. 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).

  • Recent small snowmobile triggered slides along the Big Sky trail in the Cabin Creek area. Photo taken 12/18/20.

    Photo: J. Norlander

  • Small slides on road cuts along the Big Sky trail triggered by the groomer on Thursday night (12/17/20).

    Photo: M. Global

  • 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

  • Large surface hoar crystals growing in the Upper Taylor Fork drainage on 12/9/20. 

    Photo: E. Birkeland

  • The Gallatin Valley Snowmobile Association put up the beacon checker at the Sage Creek parking lot which leads to Taylor Fork. Thanks GVSA! Photo: GVSA

  • From obs: "Yesterday my partner and I attempted to ski the notch couloir off Koch Peak in the Hilgards. There was a strong western wind that picked up throughout the day, but we didn't notice any recent avalanche activity from the new snow. The snow seemed very consolidated underneath the new 6" or so that had fallen, but once we started skinning up the apron we noticed significant and variable wind-loading, so we dug a pit. Our pit was at the base of the couloir at approximately 10,400 and was directly east-facing. Here is a summary of our pit results: 25cm of large sugary facets at the ground (fist), 5cm ice crust on top of these facets (pencil), a 30cm very consolidated and well bonded layer (1 finger), a 1-2 cm light surface hoar layer, and a 5cm wind-crust ontop of that. We were worried about the deeper, consolidated layer that was sitting on top of the sugary facets propagating so we performed an ECT test and it failed on ETCP-17 on that layer with a Q3 sheer." Photo: L. Ippolito

  • 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

WebCams


Raynolds Pass, Looking N

Weather Forecast Southern Madison

Extended Forecast for

20 Miles S Big Sky MT

  • Today

    Today: Mostly sunny, with a high near 26. West wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.

    Mostly Sunny

    High: 26 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: A 20 percent chance of snow after 4am.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 12. Wind chill values as low as -5. West southwest wind 13 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.

    Partly Cloudy
    then Slight
    Chance Snow

    Low: 12 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: Snow, mainly after noon.  Patchy blowing snow after noon. High near 24. Wind chill values as low as zero. South southwest wind 15 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.

    Chance Snow
    then Snow and
    Patchy
    Blowing Snow

    High: 24 °F

  • Sunday
    Night

    Sunday Night: Snow.  Areas of blowing snow. Low around 17. Wind chill values as low as zero. Breezy, with a west southwest wind 17 to 24 mph, with gusts as high as 33 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

    Snow and
    Areas Blowing
    Snow

    Low: 17 °F

  • M.L.King
    Day

    M.L.King Day: Snow likely, mainly before noon.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 20. North northwest wind 14 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

    Snow Likely

    High: 20 °F

  • Monday
    Night

    Monday Night: A 20 percent chance of snow before midnight.  Partly cloudy, with a low around 7. North northwest wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow then
    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 7 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: Sunny, with a high near 21. Northwest wind around 14 mph becoming west southwest in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.

    Sunny

    High: 21 °F

  • Tuesday
    Night

    Tuesday Night: A slight chance of snow after midnight.  Partly cloudy, with a low around 11. South southwest wind 14 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.

    Partly Cloudy
    then Slight
    Chance Snow

    Low: 11 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: A chance of snow, mainly before noon.  Partly sunny, with a high near 19.

    Chance Snow

    High: 19 °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