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OVERCAST Morning from Cooke city. We've seen some snow fall, but nothing to report. The snowman is calling for a chance of snow from today till next Saturday. It varies from 30% to 60%. Temp's will be in the mid to upper 30's. I'm ready for more snow to come. I've removed snow off the back roads. Let it snow. Lets all do the snow dance for next weekend. AVALANCHE CONDITIONS: The mountains near Cooke City and West Yellowstone got less snow (4-6” since Thursday) and don’t have signs of instability like the northern part of the advisory area. The primary concern today is fresh drifts of snow formed by moderate to strong east and southerly wind. These wind slabs are possible to trigger near ridgelines, and located on many aspects or unusual locations due to the wide range of wind direction. Cornices along ridgelines are massive throughout the advisory area. Keep a far distance from the edge along ridgelines and avoid slopes below. Cornices can break farther back than expected and can trigger larger slides. Besides new snow instabilities and cornices, the snowpack is mostly stable and triggering a deeper avalanche is not likely. Moderate to strong wind over the last 24 hours formed wind slabs that are possible to trigger today, and avalanche danger is MODERATE on wind loaded slopes and LOW otherwise. ... See more
AFTERNOON It's wet and slippery this afternoon. The park came up yesterday and plowed the road. The bottom went out and you couldn't get up the street. We did pick up a couple of snow over night. I've been working hauling snow off the back streets. But the snowman is calling for snow for the next 5 days. We'll have to wait and see what it will bring. AVALANCHE CONDITIONS: The mountains around Cooke City, West Yellowstone and the Bridger Range picked up 1-2” of high density snow. This will slightly improve riding conditions, but it won’t do much to elevate the avalanche danger. As temps drop below freezing today, the old snow surface on all but north facing slopes will be firm and locked up. Today, there won’t be much in the way of avalanche hazard other than large cornices. On Tuesday, I observed a few recent avalanches triggered by cornice failure in the mountains around Cooke City. Give cornices a wide berth along the ridgelines and limit your exposure time on slopes below. Today, generally safe avalanche conditions exist and the avalanche danger is rated LOW. ... See more
RECAP Morning from Bearclaw/ bakery and the Super 8 motel. We've had snow a week ago today. It snowed about 2 feet on the mountain. Then it snowed again Friday and we picked up about another 2 feet on the mountain. The snowman is calling for several days of nice weather. No snow until this weekend. AVALANCHE CONDITIONS: The mountains near Cooke City received 7-10” of snow at the end of last week, which was drifted into wind slabs by strong southwest wind on Friday. On Saturday, a skier on the Fin triggered a 1-2’ deep wind slab and was partially buried (photo). They also reported another similar sized slide later in the day (photo). These 1-2’ thick drifts are possible to trigger on shady wind loaded slopes, where the snow surface is dry and did not form a crust from sun and warm temperatures yesterday (photo). Be cautious of wind loaded slopes and keep a far distance from the edge of large cornices and avoid slopes below. Avalanche danger today is MODERATE on wind loaded slopes and LOW otherwise. ... See more
ANOTHER SNOWY DAY Afternoon from you know where. Your right, Cooke city. We are still getting light snow since Friday. We've picked up about 2-3 inches in town and the mountain has about 14 inches. The snowman has moved us up to a winter storm warning. Showing we could see up to a foot of snow from this storm. AVALANCHE CONDITIONS: The mountains around Bozeman, Big Sky and Cooke City did not get hit nearly as hard with new snow, however, these areas did receive a heavy amount of wind. Yesterday, most areas saw wind gusts between 40-50 mph, which moved snow around in higher elevations. Doug was in Hyalite yesterday and found gullies to be packed with fresh wind drifts. These drifts were mostly glued on, but he still avoided them and mentioned the situation could be different in the alpine. Fresh wind drifts will be stubborn today, but still hold the potential to fail with the proper trigger. Be cautious when traveling around wind loaded slopes, specifically in steep high consequence terrain. The gullies in Hyalite are a perfect example of terrain where even a small wind slab can have severe consequences. Cornices are an additional problem. They can break farther back than expected and can trigger slides on the slopes below. Today, natural avalanches are unlikely, but human triggered avalanches remain possible on wind loaded slopes which have a MODERATE avalanche danger. Non-wind loaded slopes have a LOW avalanche danger. ... See more
CLOUDY Morning from Cooke City. The snowman never came through with his forecast for the last couple of days. We say partly cloudy skies. It was great riding. We picked up a trace of snow overnight. The snowman has put us in a winter storm watch from tonight till Monday morning. He is saying we could see from 4-8 inches. I feel we will see about 3-4 inches. Its going to stay North of us. Lets keep up the snow dance for at least a couple of weeks. AVALANCHE CONDITIONS: Winds will remain moderate to strong today which will continue to build cornices and wind slabs. Recognize and avoid wind loaded slopes, especially in steep high consequence terrain. Outside of wind loaded slopes there a few isolated instabilities to keep an eye out for. A thin layer of facets 2-3’ feet deep have produced unstable results in a few stability tests. On a positive note, this layer has not produced recent avalanches and has a very isolated distribution. While it’s not a major concern, it’s something to keep in mind. Today, human triggered avalanches are possible on wind loaded slopes which have a MODERATE avalanche danger. Non-wind loaded slopes have a LOW avalanche danger. ... See more
START THE SNOW DANCE Morning from the windy town of Cooke City. We will see wind gust up to 50 mph. The snowman let us down for yesterday, so he moved it to today. We could see up to 7 inches by Monday morning. Tuesday he's calling for mostly sunny and the temp's will stay in the mid teens to single digits at night. Its time to start the snow dance. Maybe we can get another foot or two for next weekend. AVALANCHE CONDITIONS: New snow across the advisory area varies from 3-9” deep and equals .2-.3” snow water equivalent (SWE) even where deepest. Strong westerly wind today will drift new snow into slabs up to 2’ thick that are possible to trigger. Be cautious of wind loaded slopes near ridgelines, on steep rollovers, and around cliffs. Look for cracking and collapsing of the new snow as a clear sign to avoid steep, wind loaded slopes. Wind earlier this week drifted snow into dense slabs on top of lower density snow. These can be identified where a ski pole or boot punches through a hard slab into ‘hollow’ snow below. Skiers in Hyalite yesterday found this unstable structure, and avoided steep wind loaded slopes. Cornices along ridgelines are huge and continue to grow. Keep a far distance from the edge and avoid slopes directly below cornices. On non-wind loaded slopes the snowpack is generally stable and lacks widespread weak layers. Eric was at Hebgen Lake on Friday and found good overall stability. On some slopes it is possible to find a buried weak layer of facets or surface hoar 2-3’ deep. In Cooke City, Eric found a layer of facets 2’ deep that produced unstable results in stability tests last Tuesday. The new snow is a small amount of weight added to any lingering weak layers, but it is worth digging 3 feet to look for and assess stability before riding steep terrain. Where new snow is deepest, dry loose avalanches are possible and can be harmful if caught above consequential terrain like cliffs. Today, strong wind and new snow create fresh drifts that are possible to trigger and avalanche danger is MODERATE. ... See more
LIGHTLY SNOWING Afternoon to everyone from Bearclaw/bakery and the Super 8. We have been receiving light snow since 9 am. The temp's again was below zero. We could see up to 3 inches by morning. The snowman is calling for Sunday with a 70% chance of snow. We could see up to 8 inches by Monday morning. Then a 50% chance on Monday. Tuesday with mostly sunny skies and Wednesday and Thursday with partly cloudy skies. To the family that lost a loved one here in Cooke city. We send our thoughts and prayers to them. AVALANCHE CONDITIONS: The mountains near Cooke City have twice the snow depth as the rest of our advisory area with 11 feet at the Fisher Creek SNOTEL station. Cornices are huge, recently wind loaded slopes have deep drifts, and a weak layer of facets buried 1.5-2’ deep is a concern. Eric found this weak layer on Tuesday and got unstable stability test results. This layer should be searched for and assessed before riding steep terrain. Wind loaded slopes in steep rocky terrain or below ridgelines are most likely slopes to avalanche. Approach wind loaded slopes with caution, and stay a far distance back from large cornices and avoid slopes below. Recent heavy wind-loading and buried weak layers make human triggered avalanches possible today and the avalanche danger is rated MODERATE. I still have the frogzskin for the BCA Radio mic's. ... See more
WOW Morning from Cooke city. It's been a long week of snow plowing. It's nice to sit down for a while and give you guys updates. Since last week we picked up about 3 feet of snow on the mountain. The fisher snotell has been up to 142 inches. The snowman is calling for snow starting Saturday with a 70% chance. Chance of snow goes through Tuesday. It has been below zero for the last 3 days now. Going to warm up. It was great to see Eric from the Avalanche center. AVALANCHE CONDITIONS: Eric is in Cooke City and found blowing snow, wind-loading and also a wafer-thin weak layer of small-grained facets 18” under the surface, which he describes in his. This is the same layer I saw a week ago, but it now has a thicker slab of snow sitting on it. This layer was unstable in his tests and found on many slopes, wind-loaded and not. The good news is that it may not be a problem for long, but in the meantime assume it’s on most slopes until proven otherwise. Thick drifts and a few avalanche crowns are reminders that wind-loaded slopes could still avalanche. For today, wind-loading and a buried weak layer point to the possibility of avalanches and a MODERATE danger. ... See more
SNOW COMING Morning from Cooke city. The town has been really busy. The snowman is calling for about 7 inches of snow by tomorrow morning. The last couple of mornings we've seen below zero temp's. But today we are above zero and its great. I finally moved most of the snow from last weekend. AVALANCHE CONDITIONS: Yesterday, Cooke City was windy and snow was blowing at the ridgelines and across faces loading slopes and drifting snow. Triggering a slide on these wind slabs is a concern. Cornices grew with the last storm and these monsters could break off, steamroll and injure you, or worse, trigger a deep and large avalanche that would be deadly. Furthermore, on Saturday, a snowmobiler was buried in an avalanche he triggered in Sheep Creek. Luckily he was uncovered quickly when his partners found his finger sticking out of the snow. Triggering slides like this is becoming less likely, but not impossible. For today, the avalanche danger is rated MODERATE on all slopes. ... See more
sunny After noon from the clear blue skies of Montana. The snowman said it would be nice and it turned out to be. The temp. this morning was 3 below and at this time its 10 above. The snowman has changed his mind. He's now showing a 40 % chance for Sunday and 50% for Monday. AVALANCHE CONDITIONS: The mountains near Cooke City received 6 feet of snow equal to 6.2” of snow water equivalent (SWE) over the last week. This steady, heavy load combined with strong winds made large natural and human triggered avalanches likely the last couple days. Yesterday, skiers near Cooke City saw multiple recent avalanche crowns and saw one avalanche occur. With minimal new snow and wind since yesterday, natural avalanches are not likely. The snowpack will adjust to the recent load relatively quick, but deserves a day or two to do so. Today, large wind slabs are easy to trigger and wind loaded slopes should be avoided. Be cautious of large cornices along ridgelines and pillows of snow below. On non-wind loaded slopes, loose sluffs and slab avalanches of recent snow are possible. Avoid steep slopes if you see collapsing or cracks shooting across the snow surface. Avalanche danger today is CONSIDERABLE on all slopes. Hope everyone is having a great weekend. ... See more