We have had a fairly decent winter for snowfall so far in 2023. With early snow coming in as early as November and sticking around for the first part of 2023. That, however, has caused some dangerous conditions for skiers and snowboarders in parts of the state. The fresh snow, followed by extreme cold, followed by more snow, then another fresh layer of snow, followed by mild temperatures has increased the chances of avalanches.

In fact, just this past week, The West Central Montana Avalanche Foundation issued a HIGH avalanche warning for our area.

A large winter storm is currently impacting all forecast zones creating dangerous avalanche conditions. Since Friday, 3 feet of new snow have fallen in Seeley Lake, 2 feet in the Rattlesnake, and 1-2 in the Bitterroot, with higher totals in the north. Snow will continue today, with another foot or two expected by evening across all zones.
A sensitive storm slab exists on all aspects at mid and upper elevations. Strong winds have built wind slabs on multiple aspects. Below the rain/snow line, wet snow avalanches are possible.

The Weather Channel featured a video, taken on February 7th, 2017, showing a skier near Bozeman narrowly avoiding being buried by an avalanche. The horrifying video was shot using a GoPro-style camera. This gives you a first-person view of how terrifying it could be to find yourself involved in an avalanche. See it for yourself.

Just one more thing we need to worry about when we are spending our time in the great outdoors here in Montana. But, even though the threat of avalanches is real, don't let it stop you from getting outside and playing. Just be aware of changing conditions and always "know before you go."

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