Trip Planning for Northern Madison

as of 5:00 am
Today4″ | 20-30 S
Mar 1 8″ | 25-60 SW
Feb 29 0″ | 29-45 SW
9400′     3/02 at 16:00
15 ℉
W - 23 mph, Gusts 41
6 " New
8880′     03/02 at 16:00
18℉
45″ Depth
Primary Problem: Wind-Drifted Snow
Bottom Line: New snow and wind on a weak snowpack means human triggered avalanches are likely today. Avalanches could break beneath the new and wind drifted snow or on the weak layers deep in the snowpack. Give the new snow time to stabilize and wait to see how the deeper weak layers handle this loading event before getting onto steep slopes.

Past 5 Days

Tue Feb 27

Considerable
Wed Feb 28

Considerable
Thu Feb 29

Considerable
Fri Mar 1

Considerable
Today

Considerable

Relevant Avalanche Activity

Northern Madison
Bear Basin
Windslab avalanche in bear basin
Incident details include images
Bear Basin
SS-ASc-R1-D1-I
Aspect: E
Coordinates: 45.3242, -111.3820
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Skiers intentionally triggered a wind-slab avalanche at the cornice near the prayer flags in Bear Basin. Strong winds have drifted snow for the last two days.


More Avalanche Details
Northern Madison
Fan Mountain
Large slide north east basin of Fan Mountain
Fan Mountain
N-R3-D3-O
Aspect: NE
Coordinates: 45.2981, -111.5240
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

This avalanche likely happened in the last 24 hours following a large increase in windspeed beginning early in the morning on 02/24/2024. 

From obs: "Large slide in the north basin of Fan Mountain. The flies is below the north, northeast couloir and the crown runs all the way around the basin. It went to the ground below the couloir and a few other places. 10ft crown probably at the biggest point below the couloir. "
 

 


More Avalanche Details
Northern Madison
Buck Ridge
Natural slides in McAtee near Buck
Buck Ridge
N
Elevation: 9,400
Aspect: NE
Coordinates: 45.1727, -111.4480
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From obs 2/24/24: "Saw multiple large slides around the McAtte drainage N/NE aspects. Some were larger than others but all ran on what looked like a persistent grain or even to the ground in some. Probably natural released over last few days."

 


More Avalanche Details

Relevant Photos

Displaying 1 - 40
  • Skiers intentionally triggered a small avalanche near the prayer flags in Bear Basin. This slope has avalanched previously this season. Photo: J Alford

  • Riders triggered this pair of avalanches while crossing below this terrain, roughly 150 yards away. The location of the triggers is marked by the "x's" in the photo. Photo: M. Rolfson 

  • Riders triggered this pair of avalanches while crossing below this terrain, roughly 150 yards away. Photo: M. Rolfson 

  • Rider on 02/23/2024 observed this large avalanche next to another avalanche they had triggered remotely. They likely triggered this one as well from afar while cross terrain below. Photo: M. Rolfson

  • Riders on 02/23/2024 triggered this avalanche from 150 yards away while traversing below. Photo: M. Rolfson

  • Riders on 02/23/2024 triggered this avalanche from 150 yards away while traversing below. Photo: M. Rolfson

     

  • On 2/18/24 near Buck Ridge and Muddy Creek we saw at least eight recent avalanches that occurred at various times over the last 1-3 days, natural and/or remote triggered by riders. A group in the parking lot mentioned seeing many slides actively happen in this area on Friday 2/16. Most were 2-3' deep hard slabs, ranging from 50'-500' wide. Photo: GNFAC

  • On 2/18/24 near Buck Ridge and Muddy Creek we saw at least eight recent avalanches that occurred at various times over the last 1-3 days, natural and/or remote triggered by riders. A group in the parking lot mentioned seeing many slides actively happen in this area on Friday 2/16. Most were 2-3' deep hard slabs, ranging from 50'-500' wide. Photo: GNFAC

  • On 2/18/24 near Buck Ridge and Muddy Creek we saw at least eight recent avalanches that occurred at various times over the last 1-3 days, natural and/or remote triggered by riders. A group in the parking lot mentioned seeing many slides actively happen in this area on Friday 2/16. Most were 2-3' deep hard slabs, ranging from 50'-500' wide. Photo: GNFAC

  • On 2/18/24 near Buck Ridge and Muddy Creek we saw at least eight recent avalanches that occurred at various times over the last 1-3 days, natural and/or remote triggered by riders. A group in the parking lot mentioned seeing many slides actively happen in this area on Friday 2/16. Most were 2-3' deep hard slabs, ranging from 50'-500' wide. Photo: GNFAC

  • On 2/18/24 near Buck Ridge and Muddy Creek we saw at least eight recent avalanches that occurred at various times over the last 1-3 days, natural and/or remote triggered by riders. A group in the parking lot mentioned seeing many slides actively happen in this area on Friday 2/16. Most were 2-3' deep hard slabs, ranging from 50'-500' wide. Photo: GNFAC

  • On 2/18/24 near Buck Ridge and Muddy Creek we saw at least eight recent avalanches that occurred at various times over the last 1-3 days, natural and/or remote triggered by riders. A group in the parking lot mentioned seeing many slides actively happen in this area on Friday 2/16. Most were 2-3' deep hard slabs, ranging from 50'-500' wide. Photo: GNFAC

  • An avalanche we either triggered from 750-800 feet away or it broke naturally. This avalanche happened when we were riding near the larger of the two avalanches from yesterday, on the south side of Cedar Mtn. It was a wind-loaded slope, actively loading. The avalanche was ~130' wide with 100' of 4-12" deep new snow/wind slab and 30' wide broke almost 3 feet deep on weak snow near the ground. Photo: GNFAC

  • An avalanche we either triggered from 750-800 feet away or it broke naturally. This avalanche happened when we were riding near the larger of the two avalanches from yesterday, on the south side of Cedar Mtn. It was a wind-loaded slope, actively loading. The avalanche was ~130' wide with 100' of 4-12" deep new snow/wind slab and 30' wide broke almost 3 feet deep on weak snow near the ground. Photo: GNFAC

  • An avalanche we either triggered from 750-800 feet away or it broke naturally. This avalanche happened when we were riding near the larger of the two avalanches from yesterday, on the south side of Cedar Mtn. It was a wind-loaded slope, actively loading. The avalanche was ~130' wide with 100' of 4-12" deep new snow/wind slab and 30' wide broke almost 3 feet deep on weak snow near the ground. Photo: GNFAC

  • An avalanche we either triggered from 750-800 feet away or it broke naturally. This avalanche happened when we were riding near the larger of the two avalanches from yesterday, on the south side of Cedar Mtn. It was a wind-loaded slope, actively loading. The avalanche was ~130' wide with 100' of 4-12" deep new snow/wind slab and 30' wide broke almost 3 feet deep on weak snow near the ground. Photo: GNFAC

  • An avalanche we either triggered from 750-800 feet away or it broke naturally. This avalanche happened when we were riding near the larger of the two avalanches from yesterday, on the south side of Cedar Mtn. It was a wind-loaded slope, actively loading. The avalanche was ~130' wide with 100' of 4-12" deep new snow/wind slab and 30' wide broke almost 3 feet deep on weak snow near the ground. Photo: GNFAC

  • This avalanche was triggered by riders from flat terrain far below on February 17. Photo: GNFAC

  • From BSSP on 2/17/24: "Midafternoon we received another report of a skier triggered avalanche in the Lone Lake Circe, specifically The Mullet. The reporting party contacted several ski patrollers via cell phone and confirmed that nobody was injured or had taken the full ride. This avalanche failed near the ground on a high elevation NW facing slope with the weight of a single skier with an estimated size of HS-ASu-R3-D2.5-O."

  • From BSSP on 2/17/24: "Midafternoon we received another report of a skier triggered avalanche in the Lone Lake Circe, specifically The Mullet. The reporting party contacted several ski patrollers via cell phone and confirmed that nobody was injured or had taken the full ride. This avalanche failed near the ground on a high elevation NW facing slope with the weight of a single skier with an estimated size of HS-ASu-R3-D2.5-O."

  • Riders triggered this avalanche remotely on 02/17/2024 while riding near the Bear Creek wilderness boundary. Photo: Anonymous 

  • The debris and path of an avalanche that was triggered by snowmobilers remotely on 02/17/2024. The riders watched the avalanche from safe terrain and were not on the slope. Photo: Anonymous

  • The crown of an avalanche that was triggered by snowmobilers remotely. The riders watched the avalanche from safe terrain and were not on the slope. Photo: Anonymous

  • The crown of an avalanche that was triggered by snowmobilers remotely. The riders watched the avalanche from safe terrain and were not on the slope. Photo: Anonymous

  • From instagram on 2/16/24: "Just getting to the ridge by prayer flags in Beehive basin. 100 maybe 200 yards wide. Cracked all the way around the corner almost to a couple old tracks. Seemed to be a natural from last night or this morning."

    Photo: S. Knowles

  • From obs: "Towards the end of the day one of our riders remote triggered a massive avalanche on the North facing slope to the North of Yellow Mule cabin. The 3-4 ft crown propagated around 600 yards wide and slid on near ground facets to the bottom of the slope below depositing a very large debris pile well into the trees."
     

    Photo: K. Retz

  • From obs: "Towards the end of the day one of our riders remote triggered a massive avalanche on the North facing slope to the North of Yellow Mule cabin. The 3-4 ft crown propagated around 600 yards wide and slid on near ground facets to the bottom of the slope below depositing a very large debris pile well into the trees."
     

    Photo: K. Retz

  • From obs: "Towards the end of the day one of our riders remote triggered a massive avalanche on the North facing slope to the North of Yellow Mule cabin. The 3-4 ft crown propagated around 600 yards wide and slid on near ground facets to the bottom of the slope below depositing a very large debris pile well into the trees."
     

    Photo: K. Retz

  • From obs: "Towards the end of the day one of our riders remote triggered a massive avalanche on the North facing slope to the North of Yellow Mule cabin. The 3-4 ft crown propagated around 600 yards wide and slid on near ground facets to the bottom of the slope below depositing a very large debris pile well into the trees."
     

    Photo: K. Retz

  • From obs: "Towards the end of the day one of our riders remote triggered a massive avalanche on the North facing slope to the North of Yellow Mule cabin. The 3-4 ft crown propagated around 600 yards wide and slid on near ground facets to the bottom of the slope below depositing a very large debris pile well into the trees."
     

    Photo: K. Retz

  • Due to dangerous conditions, we executed our plan to avoid terrain over 30 degrees. Additionally, with the season's history of triggering avalanches from long distances away, we were cautious about traveling below steep slopes. Photo: GNFAC

  • We noted a relatively small, natural avalanche across the valley in Bear Basin. Photo: GNFAC

  • We saw a recent small rider-triggered avalanche in the Third Yellow Mule. Photo GNFAC

     

  • We saw a natural avalanche in McAtee Basin that broke last night or early this morning. Photo: GNFAC

     

  • Cracking above the crown of an avalanche we triggered from the flats below. Photo: GNFAC

     

  • Two natural avalanches on Beehive Peak. Photo: Anonymous 

  • End of Forest Service Wall outside of Big Sky Resort boundary. 

  • From obs: "End of Forest Service Wall outside of Big Sky Resort boundary." Photo Anonymous 

  • We saw a pair of natural avalanches in McAtee Basin that broke early this morning. Photo: GNFAC

Videos- Northern Madison

WebCams


8800' Camera, Lone Peak view

Yellowstone Club, Timberline Chair

Snowpit Profiles- Northern Madison

 

Select a snowpit on the map to view the profile image

Weather Forecast Northern Madison

Extended Forecast for

5 Miles NNW Big Sky MT

Winter Storm Warning until March 3, 04:00amClick here for hazard details and duration Winter Storm Warning
  •  Winter Storm Warning until March 3, 04:00am

    NOW until
    4:00am Sun

    Winter Storm Warning

  • This
    Afternoon

    This Afternoon: Snow showers likely. The snow could be heavy at times.  Areas of blowing snow. Cloudy, with a high near 23. Wind chill values as low as zero. Breezy, with a west southwest wind around 22 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 70%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible.

    Heavy Snow
    and Areas
    Blowing Snow

    High: 23 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Snow showers, mainly before 3am. The snow could be heavy at times.  Widespread blowing snow, mainly before midnight. Low around 3. Wind chill values as low as -15. Windy, with a south southwest wind 25 to 30 mph becoming west 15 to 20 mph after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 40 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

    Heavy Snow
    and Blowing
    Snow

    Low: 3 °F

  • Sunday

    Sunday: A 20 percent chance of snow showers between 10am and 11am.  Partly sunny, with a high near 12. Wind chill values as low as -15. Breezy, with a west wind 13 to 22 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.

    Slight Chance
    Snow Showers
    then Partly
    Sunny and
    Breezy

    High: 12 °F

  • Sunday
    Night

    Sunday Night: A 30 percent chance of snow showers, mainly before 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around -1. Wind chill values as low as -20. Breezy, with a southwest wind 17 to 22 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

    Chance Snow
    Showers and
    Breezy

    Low: -1 °F

  • Monday

    Monday: Snow showers likely, mainly after 11am.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 12. Breezy, with a west southwest wind 14 to 19 mph increasing to 21 to 26 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 31 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

    Snow Showers
    Likely and
    Breezy

    High: 12 °F

  • Monday
    Night

    Monday Night: A 50 percent chance of snow showers.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 4. Breezy, with a south wind 17 to 22 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

    Chance Snow
    Showers and
    Breezy

    Low: 4 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: Snow showers.  High near 19. Breezy, with a south wind 18 to 28 mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.

    Snow Showers
    and Breezy

    High: 19 °F

  • Tuesday
    Night

    Tuesday Night: Snow showers likely, mainly before 11pm.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 7. South southwest wind 11 to 21 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph.

    Snow Showers
    Likely

    Low: 7 °F

The Last Word

Clear weather and temperature fluctuations can make a weak layer in the top few cm of the snowpack called near-surface faceting. There are 3 dominant types which are explained in Bruce Jamieson’s new video featuring Karl Birkeland, Doug Chabot, Ed Adams, Mike Cooperstein, Ethan Greene and Mark Staples.

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