Friday, December 30, 2011

New Years Update. Avalanche Warning Issued

Photo courtesy of West Central Montana Avalanche Center.

There was a human-triggered avalanche on Point 6 yesterday. You can read the report here. The West Central Montana Avalanche Center has issued an avalanche warning above 6000 feet for the Bitterroots and the Rattlesnake. Heavy snow, combined with lots of wind on two separate buried surface hoar layers is creating scary conditions out there. The public observation board has several other reports of instability and avalanche activity from around the area. It's gonna take a while so stay safe folks.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year!

Boo to the rain. A series of warm, moist systems are making their way through NW Montana, meaning valley rain and some mountain snow. Lost Trail, as usual when we get the warm wet stuff, is the place to be today, with 16" in the past 24 hours. It's all about the elevation. The first cold front has now passed, with mountain top temps in the Rattlesnake dropping fast, 4 degrees in the past two hours or so. Temps are expected to rise again with next storm. Four inches fell on Stuart last night, with a few showers still on the radar. The next system is supposed to arrive Thursday evening, and while warm, it doesn't look to be as sloppy as the recent storm. Still going to be muddy and nasty in the valley.

Avalanche danger is pretty bad right now, so I wouldn't advise any backcountry trips, unless you are really confident in your abilities and you plan to avoid dangerous terrain. We have a few weak layers of surface hoar buried in the snowpack. Add a bunch of new loading with heavy wet snow and mid-elevation rain and you've got a recipe for trouble. Dudley's video from after the last storm is pretty telling. Not much has happened to strengthen the deep weak layer and we added another smaller surface hoar layer over the holiday before these storms. A 16+" slab will bury you pretty damn quick. Anyway, things are not safe out there.

There has been a lot of talk about the LaValle malfunction up at Snowbowl. For the record, I was rope evacuated, and I thought Patrol did a great job, considering how many young kids were solo on the lift. Apparently, the cable got derailed when a person somehow ran into a sign while trying to load, and the chair then hit the sign, bouncing it off. The idiocy factor is high at the Bowl right now, and this is just one example. Anyway, the lift was quickly fixed and I don't think safety is an issue up there, other than the morons and some of the high schoolers, who for some reason think that good skiers never make any turns. Go home and watch your movies, kids. It's about what you do when you're on the ground, not your outfit and your aerials.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Mother Nature gave us a big present this year. Somehow, the storm that was supposed to miss us didn't, and we've got over a foot of fresh snow in the mountains. Today's cold temps sucked a lot of the moisture out and things are pretty soft. There are still lots of sleeper logs and rocks, so watch yourselves.

I haven't been out of bounds in a while, but I should be making an adventure at some point shortly. Inbounds has just been too much fun! Anyway, hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Snowbowl Update 12/9/11

Pretty simple. We need some snow. Bad.

Rob and I skied the Bowl today, and while we did managed to find some good snow in spots, we definitely hit a lot of rocks doing so. The wind seemed to mess the 'Snake up a lot more than the Bitterroots. There's also probably 10 more inches at altitude on that side of the valley.

Some areas up top are as thin as I've seen, with all kinds of rocks popping out, and tons of saplings. Most of the mountain, including half of the Lavalle area, is still closed. Just not enough coverage. I wouldn't suggest cutting under the lines either. Best run of the day was Paradise, honestly. Anyway, if we got a foot of fresh, it would be back on it's way. Let's hope this high pressure is out of here soon.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New Mo' Film Part of 2012 Fly Fishing Film Tour

Sipping Dry trailer from Sharptail Media on Vimeo.

Can't wait to see this one. I love technical dry fly fishing. The Mo' is paradise for that and has kicked my ass more times than I'd care to admit. Sorry for jinxing the snow by talking about it on the blog! Keep your fingers crossed and watch some porn! Fish or ski porn, that is.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sideman's Country

My first short ski film shot the past few weeks. Music by Zoo City contributor Seagoat, aka Chrisopher Entz. This was all done with two iPhones and iMovie. Check it yo!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Zoo City's New Winter Focus

Happy winter, everyone! Beautiful day out there with a few inches of fresh, dry snow in the valley. Hope everyone is ready for another La Nina.

I started Zoo City several years ago with the goal of providing high quality fly fishing info for Missoulians. Each winter, this blog has essentially been in hiatus, while the Zoo Crew switches into powder hunting mode. This year, in an effort to keep a continuous stream of posts, I'm adding ski and snow info to the blog for all those trout addicts who turn to Montana's cold smoke for winter therapy. Next to landing a 22-inch brown, nothing compares to a long, untouched powder glade to get my heart going.

In the sidebar on the left, I've shared all of my favorite snow nerd links for your cold weather pleasure. You'll find pin point weather reports for your favorite in-bounds and backcountry areas, plus Snotel information, climate info, satellite photos, weather radar and more. I hope you make Zoo City your first stop before planning your next tour or day on the chair lift. I'll also keep posting photos, videos and reports of all our winter adventures. Hope you enjoy and stay warm out there!