Trip Planning for Southern Gallatin

as of 5:00 am
Feb 110″ | 20-50 NW
Feb 10 0″ | 10-25 N
Feb 9 0″ | 15-30 W
9460′     03/30 at 14:00
N - 0mph
Gusts 1mph
9000′   09/30 at 13:00
-2″ Depth
Bottom Line: Bottom line is what it is. This is the bottom line of lionhead, and others;
Primary Problem: Wind-Drifted Snow

Past 5 Days

Wed Feb 9

Thu Feb 10

Fri Feb 11

Thu Apr 21

Fri Aug 19


Relevant Photos

Displaying 1 - 28
  • Chris Hericks, snow ranger on Beaverhead Deerlodge NF, points to the lower of two surface hoar layers. We are finding similar layering throughout our entire forecast area. The top 18" of the snowpack is weak and will quickly become unstable when it snows. Photo: GNFAC

  • Looking up from the bottom of the avalanche that killed one snowmobiler on Ski Hill. The crown is visible at the top of the hill. The men in the photo are standing near the trees where the victim was buried. Photo: GNFAC

  • The crown is not visible (it is down and right) but the X marks the approximate spot the rider was found. Photo: GNFAC

  • The crown was measured 4-11 inches deep and 75 feet wide. Photo: GNFAC

  • Looking at a weak layer of facets that the avalanche propagated on. Photo: GNFAC

  • Looking at the crown from below. Photo: GNFAC

  • A small, skier-triggered avalanche on Mt Blackmore on Sunday (Feb 6) would be unlikely to bury a skier or rider, but could push them into or off obstacles. Photo: E Stutzman

  • On Sunday, February 6, Gallatin Country Sheriff Search and Rescue and the GNFAC responded to a avalanche in Lionhead. A snowmobiler was killed on a small steep slope when a shallow avalanche carried him into a terrain trap of trees. Photo: GNFAC

  • This morning while ascending a line on Sawtooth Mountain (Lower Novocain) we triggered an avalanche (ASu-SS-R2-D2-O)  that caught and carried my partner an estimated 180M and partially buried him. His leg and hand were unburied and excavation of the head was done in less than 2 minutes of the incident. The avalanche only involved new snow from the last 48hrs and was triggered on a MF crust/facet combo 30cm down(formed 1/30/22). The avalanche was 30cm at its deepest and 20-30M wide and ran 250M. We were lucky to find both skis and poles a little ways downslope. No injuries were sustained.

    We both agree that we were trying to outsmart the instability that was present on steeper S facing terrain and should have turned around much sooner, we were very lucky. There was 30+cm HST in favored areas and the high winds from 1/31/22 formed some sensitive windslabs in specific areas. 


  • Graph of Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) at SNOTEL sites in the GNFAC forecast area from October 1, 2021 to January 30, 2022. It highlights the extended dry conditions in January that contributed to weak layers forming at the top of the snowpack. GNFAC

  • Riders reported on 1/15/22: "Some surface hoar is forming on nearly every aspect at all elevations. over 1 cm thick in some areas." Photo: B. Rasmussen

  • Riders reported on 1/15/22: "Some surface hoar is forming on nearly every aspect at all elevations. over 1 cm thick in some areas." Photo: B. Rasmussen

  • Settlement rings around the base of trees near Cooke City, January 15, 2022. Photo: B. Fredlund

  • From email 1/9/22: "Skier triggered cornice failure avalanche. Broke at skis 10-12 feet from the lip. No one caught or injured."

  • From email 1/9/22: "Skier triggered cornice failure avalanche. Broke at skis 10-12 feet from the lip. No one caught or injured."

  • A sled was recovered uphill of the 2 avalanche victims in the same area it was stuck. The sled was found with a probe line and is buried 3-4 feet deep. The avalanche crown can be seen in the upper slopes above them. Photo: GNFAC

  • The crown of the avalanche that killed two snowmobilers on December 27, 2021 was 300 feet wide and 4-5 feet deep. Photo: GNFAC

  • These are the two sites where the 2 snowmobilers were recovered. They were buried 4-5 feet deep in debris piles that measured 9 feet deep. Photo: GNFAC

  • Ian Hoyer stands next to the crown where we dug a snowpit and investigated the snow structure. The crown averaged 4-5 feet deep. Near his right knee is the layer of weak faceted snow that broke 40 cm above the ground. Above this layer was a thick slab of windblown snow. Photo: GNFAC

  • Dave Zinn of the GNFAC gets 3 layers breaking in his Extended Column Test. About 3 feet of snow fell in the last 4 days which got blown into wind slabs. The weight of the new snow is also creating instability on a weak layer of sugary facets near the ground. Photo: GNFAC

  • A skier in the Southern Madison Range remotely triggered this avalanche in the Bacon Rind area from a flat bench above the slope. It broke over 50-75' away where the slope got steeper. Human-triggered avalanches are likely. Avoid steep terrain until the snowpack stabilizes. Photo: Anonymous 

  • From obs: 12/12/21: "Heavy wind loading from gusty SW winds and recent snowfall. Made for some touchy conditions. This was at 9100’ between Sage and Sunlight basins." Photo: JR Mooney

  • New snow was blown into thick drifts that can be triggered by skiers or riders. Cracking like this is a sign that drifts are unstable and could slide on steeper slopes. Photo: GNFAC

  • From email (12/5/21) : "Small avalanche triggered while approaching ice climb in East fork of Hyalite basin. 

    Another D1 natural avalanche was observed later in the day similar aspect/elevation

    NE @7600’

    Photo: A. Schoening

  • Skiers on Mount Blackmore observed cracking within the freshly wind-loaded snow on a southeast-facing slope just below the ridge (11/24/21). Photo: J Schack

  • From e-mail 11/7/21: "...Once in airplane bowl we saw multiple large slides that ran last night, syn-storm. Most of which came down from the East face of Sac. A few 200-300’ wide and running the length of the bowl.,,, attached is a grainy cell phone pic of the slides in Airplane Bowl." -Anonymous.

  • From email 11/4/21: "...noticed two small wet loose avalanches in the east facing bowl between Pomp and Hardscrabble Peaks." Photo: H. Darby

  • From e-mail 11/4/21: "Hiking up in the Bridger Range from Sacagawea Pass and noticed no faceting of the current snowpack. The snow near the pass and on the ridge is very wind affected as is to be expected and dropping into the bowl on the east side of the Pass the snowpack there has a distinct sun crust. Dug around a little bit at 8600 ft on a NE aspect and found a sun crust of about two inches with what felt like rounded grains below that. Even in the direct sun, the crust was taking a long time to rewarm and was pretty slippery..." Photo: H. Darby


Electric Peak

Roosevelt Arch

Snowpit Profiles- Southern Gallatin


Select a snowpit on the map to view the profile image

Weather Stations- Southern Gallatin

Weather Forecast Southern Gallatin

Extended Forecast for

17 Miles SE Big Sky MT

  • This

    This Afternoon: Scattered showers and thunderstorms.  Partly sunny, with a high near 50. North northeast wind 11 to 13 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 50%.


    High: 50 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Scattered showers and thunderstorms.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 33. North northeast wind 6 to 13 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 50%.


    Low: 33 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: Scattered showers, then showers and possibly a thunderstorm after noon.  High near 48. Northeast wind 6 to 11 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

    Showers then

    High: 48 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday Night: Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm.  Cloudy, with a low around 37. Northeast wind 5 to 10 mph becoming south after midnight.  Chance of precipitation is 70%.

    Likely then

    Low: 37 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: A chance of showers, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm after noon.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 47. South wind 5 to 9 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 70%.


    High: 47 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday Night: A chance of showers and thunderstorms before 9pm, then a chance of showers between 9pm and midnight.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 39. West southwest wind 5 to 7 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 30%.

    Showers then
    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 39 °F

  • Monday

    Monday: A 20 percent chance of showers after noon.  Partly sunny, with a high near 52. West wind 5 to 8 mph becoming north northwest in the afternoon.

    Partly Sunny
    then Slight

    High: 52 °F

  • Monday

    Monday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 36.

    Mostly Clear

    Low: 36 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: Sunny, with a high near 58.


    High: 58 °F

The Last Word

We completed our investigation of the avalanche fatality at Ski Hill in Lionhead.

  <<  This is the most recent forecast.