Avalanche center issues spring advisory

Print Article

The Flathead Avalanche Center is warning backcountry users that dangers still exist in the mountain snowpack despite on onset of spring.

In its final advisory of the season April 15, the center said an above average snowpack and a wet outlook for the coming months mean that avalanche concerns “aren’t going away anytime soon.”

Snowpack in the Flathead Basin is at 152 percent of average, with much of the high terrain above 6,000 feet holding more than 12 feet of snow. And new snow is still coming down. Big Mountain in Whitefish received more than 15 inches of new snow April 13, and was expected to pick up an additional 2-4 inches on Tuesday.

Loose wet avalanches are the most frequent avalanche problem in the spring, as rising temperatures, sun and rain become factors, the center warned. “These slides release from a single point but produce a surprisingly powerful amount of debris,” said avalanche center director Zach Guy in the spring advisory.

Rollerballs, pinwheels, or natural sluffs all signal instability and are signs that backcountry users should move to different terrain with colder snow, Guy warned.

Another concern in spring is melt-water in the snowpack that can create “glide avalanches.”

“These conditions can result in very destructive debris that runs across all elevation bands onto bare ground,” Guy said.

Backcountry skiers and snowmobilers should avoid traveling below slopes with signs of glide cracks.

In general, backcountry users are advised to travel early while the snowpack is frozen. If the snowpack doesn’t refreeze overnight, avoid steep terrain. Post-holing, Guy warned, “is a sign you’re not welcome in avalanche terrain.”

“Continue to assess the weather, snowpack and terrain, and practice safe travel techniques until the snow melts,” he added.

There were three avalanche fatalities in Montana this season, including a 39-year-old Bozeman man who died Saturday in a slide while skiing in the backcountry on Saddle Peak near Bridger Bowl.

The center will continue to update its social media with critical observations. Visit www.flatheadavalanche.org for the complete spring advisory.

Print Article

Read More Local News

Groundbreaking set for Whitefish housing project

August 24, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake A groundbreaking ceremony for Alpenglow Apartments, a new 38-unit workforce housing development in Whitefish, is planned at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27 at the development site, 536 Edgewood Place. The p...

Comments

Read More

Voisin offers scholarship to join freestyle team

August 24, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Whitefish’s own slopestyle skiing superstar, Maggie Voisin, has announced she is offering a scholarship to cover the fees to join the Whitefish Mountain Resort’s Freestyle Ski and Snowboard Team, as ...

Comments

Read More

State to remove non-native fish from Cooney Creek

August 24, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks will use backpack electro-fishing equipment to capture and remove non-native brook and rainbow trout from Cooney Creek, a tributary of the upper Swa...

Comments

Read More

Mental-health grant targets reservation students

August 24, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Social, emotional and physical wellbeing are interlinked to a person’s overall wellness. Ronan, Rocky Boy, Box Elder and St. Ignatius high schools will emphasize the role mental health plays in hol...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2019 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X