GNFAC Avalanche Forecast for Wed Jan 19, 2022

Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion

<p>A few inches of new snow is not enough weight to adversely affect the stability of the snowpack. Wind at the ridgeline may create thin pockets of drifted snow, but these won’t be deep or widespread. Yesterday, Ian and his partner toured up Flanders drainage in Hyalite. They dug a snowpit on a slope adjacent to where they were planning to ski and got unstable test results, which is not what they were expecting (<a href="https://youtu.be/-ha6ugs0Wgs"><strong><u>video</u></strong></a&gt;). He said, “I’d much rather get surprised in my snowpit than surprised by an avalanche.” This is why we dig, even when avalanches are unlikely. Knowing what’s under our feet is critical information.&nbsp;</p>

<p>South of Big Sky to West Yellowstone and Cooke City, the snowpack is stable but we just buried a new weak layer, a future problem. Feathery crystals of surface hoar that formed during clear nights (<a href="http://www.mtavalanche.com/images/22/west-yellowstone-surface-hoar"><st…;) are now 1-3” under the snow surface. Alex is in Cooke City and confirmed they are now buried and preserved (<a href="http://www.mtavalanche.com/images/22/buried-surface-hoar-near-cooke-cit…;, <a href="https://youtu.be/FOJv3cTQ8rs"><strong><u>video</u></strong></a&gt;). Yesterday, I found them under the surface in Lionhead near West Yellowstone (<a href="https://youtu.be/g7Pl9-raU7g"><strong><u>video</u></strong></a&gt;). Their distribution is widespread at most elevations and aspects in the southern mountains. This specific weak layer is resistant to strengthening and can remain a problem for a month or more. I expect avalanches on this layer once we get more snow, but not today.</p>

<p>The basics of avalanche safety never get old, they keep us trained and focused. Carry rescue gear, practice with it, only expose one person at a time on a slope and dig and test before committing to avalanche terrain. Today the avalanche danger is rated LOW on all slopes in the forecast area since avalanches are unlikely.&nbsp;</p>

<p>If you get out, please send us your observations no matter how brief. You can submit them via our <a href="https://www.mtavalanche.com/node/add/snow_observation"><strong><u>websi…;, email (<a href="mailto:mtavalanche@gmail.com"><strong><u>mtavalanche@gmail.com</u></str…;), phone (406-587-6984), or Instagram (#gnfacobs).</p>

Upcoming Education Opportunities

The West Yellowstone Beacon Park is up and running! Stop by to check it out and practice with your rescue gear. 

See our education calendar for an up-to-date list of all local classes. Here are a few select upcoming events and opportunities to check out: