Regional Conditions for Northern Madison

as of 5:00 am
Dec 240″ | 19-29 SW
Dec 5 0″ | 15-30 W
Dec 4 2″ | 15-30 W
9400′     1/16 at 22:00
18 ℉
SW - 12 mph, Gusts 18
0 " New
8880′   01/16 at 20:00
25℉
30″ Depth
Bottom Line: The combination of last night’s new snow and strong west winds make triggering an avalanche likely on wind loaded slopes. It also remains possible to trigger an avalanche on a non-wind loaded slope. Give this newly loaded weak layer the respect it deserves by avoiding fresh wind drifts and carefully assessing the snowpack before committing to other steep slopes.
Primary Problem: Wind-Drifted Snow

Past 5 Days

Mon Dec 3

Low
Tue Dec 4

Moderate
Wed Dec 5

Considerable
Wed Dec 12

Moderate
Mon Dec 24

Considerable

Avalanche Activity- Northern Madison

Photos- Northern Madison

Displaying 1 - 40 of 4.61168601843E+18
  • Wind loads were easy to trigger. This one was triggered on purpose up Maid of the Mist in Hyalite. Photo: A. Peterson

  • Wind slabs were easily triggered. Although small in size, they indicate that larger slopes would have larger avalanches. Photo: A. Peterson

  • From some skiers: "We encountered veey localized loading that easily fractured and propagated uphill on a south aspect." Photo: S. Reinsel

  • From some skiers: "We encountered veey localized loading that easily fractured and propagated uphill on a south aspect." Photo: S. Reinsel

  • Skiers triggered these loose snow avalanches on Sunday (12/2) on a west-southwest aspect in Beehive Basin. Photo: T. Allen

  • From e-mail: "triggered a small wet slide in the Going Home chute coming back into Beehive, and we observed another natural wet slide on a similar aspect that had occurred since we toured past in the morning. Wind was light or calm all day and wind effect was minimal even at ridgelines." Photo: C. Kussmaul

  • From e-mail: "triggered a small wet slide in the Going Home chute coming back into Beehive, and we observed another natural wet slide on a similar aspect that had occurred since we toured past in the morning. Wind was light or calm all day and wind effect was minimal even at ridgelines." Photo: C. Kussmaul

  • Skiers in Beehive on Sunday (12/2) reported lots of previous natural point releases. Photo: H. Copolillo

  • We observed this wind slab and debris on Sunday (12/2). It likely formed from the new snow and wind on Saturday morning. Photo: GNFAC

  • We observed this wind slab crown on Sunday (12/2). It likely formed from the new snow and wind the Saturday morning. Photo: GNFAC

  • Cracking of fresh drifts was a sign that avalanches were likely on steep, wind loaded slopes on Saddle Peak. Photo: GNFAC

  • In Beehive Basin, the snowpack is thin and weak on west and south facing slopes. A poor snowpack structure will make slab avalanches likely on these slopes with the arrival of new and wind-blown snow. Photo: GNFAC.  

  • In Beehive and Bear Basin, the snowpack is generally strong and stable on east and north facing slopes below treeline. Photo: GNFAC

  • Slopes loaded by west-southwest winds are the main avalanche concern. Cornices and natural avalanches are bull's eye information slopes are wind loaded and unstable. Watch for and carefully assess all slopes with wind drifted snow. This photo was taken in the northern Madison Range. Photo B VandenBos

  • Snow water equivalent at SNOTEL stations in the GNFAC advisory areas for the 18-19 season to date. Weak layers formed on the surface of the snowpack during the dry weather (flat section of lines), then they were buried by the recent 10-14" of snow (steep increase at end of graph). Image: GNFAC

  • Skiers saw this natural avalanche near Mt. Blackmore on Saturday (11/24). Almost a foot of new snow fell and buried weak snow that formed on the surface of the snowpack during cold and dry weather. Be cautious of avalanches breaking at this weak interface for a few days and with the next storm. Photo: M. Staples

  • From BSSP: "There has been some significant surface hoar observed at treeline and below.  It is not melting and light to non-existent winds are allowing it to persist for now.  The attached pic is some of the biggest SH observed." Photo: BSSP

  • Climbers triggered this very small wind slab on the way to a climb up Flanders in Hyalite (11/11). A tiny slide to a skier can be bad news for a climber since losing one's balance or getting pushed off a cliff can be deadly. From an email (edited):

    Hyalite Snow Conditions:...we dug two hasty pits on east facing slopes in Flanders....
    8200'- isolated opening in trees in an area on rocks, shallower snow (~50cm). CT12 at the ground, again just tapping on the back of other hand, so not super legit, but did raise eyebrows.  
    8450'- Opening below cliff bands on exposed traverse. Deeper snow (~80-90cm). No concerns other than storm snow and snow coming off of cliff bands. Classic Hyalite shifty winds. We released a small (10-15cm) storm slab on traverse into the climb .  
    Weather: It was snowing and blowing all day.

    Photo: S. Magro

  • From an email:

    "By and large right side up snowpack. Some small facets below the 11/1 ice crust at the ground, but well bonded snowpack overall. Pit observations consistent with hand pits dug throughout the day touring north out of Bridger Bowl." Photo: M. Zia

  • From an email: "ECTP 5 at the top of a chute on the south face of the Texas Meadows knob. Propagated on a layer 15cm from the top of the snowpack." Photo: J. Zimmerer

  • From Instagram:

    "Careful out there this year! While we are lucky enough to have a mostly stable snowpack here in Southwest Montana, we did just find this little wind slab well below the ridge line in Middle Basin. Slowboarder was fine" @chartierk

  • A skier found 80 cm of stable snow on an east facing slope at 9200' in Beehive Basin. Winds created these newborn cornices along the ridge. Photo: T. Allen

  • From e-mail: "Was descending off of Zach Attack tonight and set off a small slab in the gully on the decent. This was about 100 meters below the start of pitch 1. Constant whipping winds and lots of new deposited snow likely caused the slab to form. Climber caused. Didn’t carry me as it was small. Would be wary of the mummy cooler gullies abover scepter as well."

  • From e-mail: "Was descending off of Zach Attack tonight and set off a small lab in the gully on the decent. This was about 100 meters below the start of pitch 1. Constant whipping winds and lots of new deposited snow likely caused the slab to form. Climber caused. Didn’t carry me as it was small. Would be wary of the mummy cooler gullies abover scepter as well."

  • From a tour up Miller Creek: "Good stability and structure found overall.  No collapsing nor cracking experienced, minor wind effect, and only some minor point release avalanche activity noted on the east aspect of Crown Butte." Photo: B. Fredlund

  • From Zack Keskinen:
     
    Noted multiple small crowns (15-20cms) on NE steep rocky terrain. Pit seemed reasonably consistent with a couple hand pits across the day in the "above treeline" zone.
  • From Zack Keskinen:
     
    Mt Blackmore 11/07
    HN24 - 20cm
    S1 - 8/8 - W (Light)
     
    Noted multiple small crowns (15-20cms) on NE steep rocky terrain.Pit seemed reasonably consistent with a couple hand pits across the day in the "above treeline" zone.
  •  From Zack Keskinen:
     
    Mt Blackmore 11/07
    HN24 - 20cm
    S1 - 8/8 - W (Light)
     
    Noted multiple small crowns (15-20cms) on NE steep rocky terrain.Pit seemed reasonably consistent with a couple hand pits across the day in the "above treeline" zone.
  • Natural wind slab that broke after 3-4 feet of new snow over 6 days. Photo: B. VandenBos

  • Natural avalanche activity was widespread in Hyalite on Tuesday 11/6. Obs from e-mail: "The newest snow (about 18", I'd guess past 48hrs) is touchy soft slab. The top 8 inches also exhibit a storm slab-like quality.  There appears to be a very slight density change between the two.  Top 8" fracture and propagate cracks readily on gentle terrain, whereas in steeper terrain, the deeper slab (again, about 18" down) was propagating as I was skinning up the headwall in the steep creek drainages and steeper features nearby. Lots of natural activity on steeper terrain, but vis was limited. Photo: G. Antonioli

  • Natural avalanche activity was widespread in Hyalite on Tuesday 11/6. Obs from e-mail: "The newest snow (about 18", I'd guess past 48hrs) is touchy soft slab. The top 8 inches also exhibit a storm slab-like quality.  There appears to be a very slight density change between the two.  Top 8" fracture and propagate cracks readily on gentle terrain, whereas in steeper terrain, the deeper slab (again, about 18" down) was propagating as I was skinning up the headwall in the steep creek drainages and steeper features nearby. Lots of natural activity on steeper terrain, but vis was limited. Photo: G. Antonioli

  • From the MSU Backcountry Club Instagram page:

    Warning! This is a current, fresh, crown in the northern Bridgers! Every aspect had a visible crown and avi debris! This crown was 56cm at it deepest and over 8 meters long. ECTP21@53 and CT24@54 on the overlying slab. Photo: @msubackcountryclub More Details.

  • This avalanche was observed on the morning of Friday 11/2. It broke from a natural trigger in the Big Couloir at Big Sky Resort. New snow fell and was drifted into slabs overlying older, hard layers of snow from October. The resort is not open and no people were in the area of the avalanche at that time. Photo: Big Sky Resort More details

     

  • POWDER BLAST
    26 October 2018

    BUY TICKETS HERE

    Join us for the best fundraiser of the year! All proceeds benefit the Friends of the Avalanche Center which supports avalanche awareness, education and information throughout southwest Montana.

    Your $35 donation gets you an unforgettable evening at the Emerson Cultural Center.

    Grizzly Outfitters of Big Sky is title sponsor of this year's 20th Annual Powder Blast. Mystery Ranch, World Boards, Community Food Co-op, Highline Partners and Spark R&D are key sponsors along with Alpine Orthopedics, Stronghold Fabrication, Werner Wealth Management, Scott Lawson Dentistry, and Knoff Group Real Estate. Additional support comes from Javaman, Edward Jones, Massive Design, Bountiful Table and Katabatic Brewing. 

    Beer from Katabatic Brewery and Wine from Montana Ale Works

    Dinner by Bountiful Table

    Music by Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs and the best silent auction of outdoor gear in the valley!

  • Wet slab avalanche in the Centennial range. Multiple days without freezing created widespread wet slides last week (5/6-5/11). Photo: @waxeman

  • Wet slab avalanche in the Centennial range. Multiple days without freezing created widespread wet slides last week (5/6-5/11). Photo: @waxeman

  • Wet slide carnage observed off of Skyline Ridge near Cabin Creek May 11/12. Many days of above freezing temperatures created widespread wet slide activity over the previous week. Photo: B. Lukens

  • Wet slide carnage observed off of Skyline Ridge near Cabin Creek May 11/12. Many days of above freezing temperatures created widespread wet slide activity over the previous week. Photo: B. Lukens

  • Massive cornices create a few hazards as they warm and weaken under the spring heat. They become easier to trigger, can break naturally, and form dangerous, deep cracks along ridgelines. From e-mail: "The crack was up to 30' deep, and had pulled large pieces of vegetation from the ridgeline it used to be attached to." Photo: S. Reinsel

  • Wet slab in the Second Yellowmule on Buck Ridge. Observed May 10. Photo: M. Christensen

Videos- Northern Madison

Weather Forecast Northern Madison

Extended Forecast for

5 Miles NNW Big Sky MT

Winter Weather Advisory January 17, 05:00am until January 17, 11:00pm
Click here for hazard details and duration
Winter Weather Advisory
  • Tonight

    Tonight: A 30 percent chance of snow, mainly after 5am.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 18. South southwest wind 15 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph.  Total nighttime snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Mostly Cloudy
    then Chance
    Snow

    Low: 18 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: Snow likely, mainly between 8am and 2pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 25. South southwest wind 17 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.

    Snow Likely

    High: 25 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: Snow likely, mainly after 11pm.  Partly cloudy during the early evening, then becoming cloudy, with a low around 19. Southwest wind 16 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

    Snow Likely

    Low: 19 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: Snow likely.  Cloudy, with a high near 24. West wind 16 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

    Snow Likely

    High: 24 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: A 30 percent chance of snow, mainly before 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 17. Southwest wind 14 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    Low: 17 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: A 20 percent chance of snow.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 24. Breezy.

    Slight Chance
    Snow and
    Breezy

    High: 24 °F

  • Saturday
    Night

    Saturday Night: A 30 percent chance of snow, mainly after 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 22. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

    Chance Snow

    Low: 22 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: A chance of snow.  Cloudy, with a high near 26. Breezy.

    Chance Snow
    and Breezy

    High: 26 °F

  • Sunday
    Night

    Sunday Night: Snow likely, mainly after 11pm. The snow could be heavy at times.  Cloudy, with a low around 17. Breezy.

    Heavy Snow
    and Breezy

    Low: 17 °F

The Last Word

Check out our new “Avalanches and Snowpits” menu item where we list all the reported avalanche activity.


  <<  This is the most recent forecast.