Monday, January 16, 2012

Storm Update: Major Event Predicted

Not much has changed in the overall forecast since last week but I've been waiting to say anything as it's been an unlucky winter thus far. NOAA has issued a Winter Storm watch for pretty much the entire northern Rockies. On Tuesday the first in a series of powerful storms is predicted to move across western Montana. An extremely strong upper level jet stream will move large amounts of moist air into the region. With the large cold air mass that's already here, we should see the potential for some serious mountain snowfall. As typically happens with these types of systems, there will be a very intense band of precipitation where the air mass border sets up. Right now NOAA is predicting this will occur somewhere between Kalispell and Missoula. My guess is, as usual, the Missions, Swans, and Seely valley will probably see the most snow, but with the amount of water coming in, it's going to be big everywhere for this winter.

Wednesday a second, even more powerful system is expected. Thursday, temperatures are predicted to rise, bringing snow levels up just below 4000 feet. Still, high confidence remains that we will be adding several FEET of snow to the mountain snowpack this week.

Steve Karkanan, of Missoula Avalanche, is predicting that while the snowpack has stabilized quite a bit over the past week, as soon as we get another load things could get VERY dangerous on slopes over 30 degrees. This means once about a foot of new snow falls, we're right back to considerable danger. Given these storm totals, it likely that Hollywood Bowl at LT and some areas at the Bowl could be closed as well, at least in the mornings for avy control. As the Snowbowl ski patrol has told me in the past, if it's closed, usually there's a good reason.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Snow on the Way!!!

Looks like we have some good weather headed our way tonight and tomorrow. NOAA is predicting mountain accumulations of 5-8 inches, with snow levels dropping to the valley floors over night. I don't know about you, but as my buddy Bob Troutman said, I'm getting sick of looking at my grass (and all of the half-frozen dog poop) in my yard. Long term, the forecast models are still showing La Nina like conditions. It's gotta turn around sooner or later, right?

Monday, January 2, 2012

LT Update

Good skiing. Gotta know where to look for it, but you knew that. Saw this awesome slide action too. There are some tracks leading up to the crown face if you zoom all the way in. Also, Granite County sheriffs reported yet another fatality in the Flint Creek Range due to an avalanche. It's just not a good year to be careless out there.

In-bounds was pretty fun today, though. All the wet snow really came around and is buttery and easy to ski. Very windy though and lots of snow blowing off the ridge tops. Chair 4 was closed until 1pm or so, but once it opened, the day got a lot more interesting. Anyway, due to real life concerns, I'm off the slopes for a few days so send me some reports!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Snowmobiler Killed Near Cooke City and Other Rumors

The Helena IR is reporting that a snowmobiler was killed in an avalanche in the Fisher Creek area on a northeast aspect. Hope this isn't a harbinger for the rest of the season around the state. He was recovered within 12 minutes, but the slab was four feet thick and 300 feet wide. Not good. Sad and condolences to his family and friends.

Got a report yesterday that a skier set off a slide in Hollywood Bowl up at Lost Trail, causing a temporary closure. It's back open now, and very deep, from what I hear.

I also heard from the birds that in the Bitterroots below 6000 feet there is some great snow to be had and a lot more stability, due to the rain. The slopes above the rain line that were wind-loaded remain pretty sketchy. Also, we are now live on Twitter and Facebook, so please link up with us. Happy New Year and be safe!