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Avalanche experts urge caution with approaching snow storm, winds

Posted at 10:33 AM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 12:34:28-05

BOZEMAN — The Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center is warning backcountry enthusiasts to use caution if you are heading into avalanche terrain over the next several days.

Alex Marienthal from the Gallatin Avalanche Center told MTN news that the snow and wind this weekend may have created weaker snowpack that what we have been seeing. “That early season snow created a weak and sugary layer that has been the foundation for the snowpack in parts of the area” Marienthal said. He went on to warn that the wind and new snow has added weight to that already weak snowpack.

The forecast is calling for the mountains to pick up between 12”-24” of additional snow between Wednesday and Friday. While that may be tempting for backcounty enthusiasts, the GNFAC warns that you need to be aware of avalanche terrain and make sure that you are equipped with a beacon, shovel, probe, as well as a partner when heading into the backcountry.

People riding snowmobiles can use beacon checkpoints at Buck Ridge, Taylor Fork, and near Beehive access points. Those checkpoints will show you if your beacons are working properly before you head out. “It's kind of a reminder for people to make sure that their beacons are turned on or if they need to go back and grab it and not to head out there without one” Marienthal said.

You can always check the GNFAC’s website for current conditions at: https://www.mtavalanche.com/

Right now, the Madison range as well as the southern Gallatin Range is rated at moderate risk for avalanches while the northern Gallatin and Bridger ranges are rated at considerable.