Skiers reported multiple large natural avalanches in the Arrastra drainage in the Absarokas. They estimated the recent storm cycle totals to be 3-5'.
From e-mail: "We observed a rather large natural slide come down within a 100' of us as we were beginning our ascent in some thick old-growth Douglas Fir woods next to the terminus of a large south-facing gully/ slide path.
we knew there was a party of at least two above us. I quickly put my beacon in search mode and scanned the toe of the debris. No signals. We separated by a safe distance and I led up the skin tra track ich bordered the lower 400' of the debris field with my beacon in search mode. No signals. At 400' up the Arrastra Road crosses the path. At this point my partner and I met up. I crossed the debris angling downhill to the west continuing to search for any potential signals. No signals. I skinned up the remaining west border of the path in search mode. Back at the road I finally heard and saw the other party of 3 come out of the woods above us. Very relieved we were. They thanked us for our concern and we all descended and left for the day.
Since last Friday I would realistically say that 3'-5' of new snow had accumulated. I'd been in here Mon.-Fri. this week and aside from Tuesday it had been snowing at high rates at all times.
This particular path had slid to within 300' of the upper road around New Year's. It is a south facing path with two distinct gullies and runs from just under 10000' down to 7600'.
Quite a few other large crowns were observed higher in the bowls, mostly being confined to storm snow. But I'm sure some were failing on PWLs at the ground and within the snowpack."