GNFAC, Skiing

The Lookout
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Monday, March 21, 2016 - 4:37pm GNFAC

Potential hazards of late-season skiing and riding.

Spring skiing and riding can be some of the best of the season. Good snow coverage, warmer weather and more predictable snow stability (at times) can lead to unmatched  conditions. One's ability also improves after a full season which allows skiers and riders to push the envelope in avalanche terrain. While spring conditions can be the best, it can also hold avalanche hazards not encountered during the colder parts of winter.

As snowpack and weather transition into a warmer and wetter spring pattern, there are a number of avalanche variables to pay attention to.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015 - 2:51pm GNFAC

A rotten way to start the season.

The snowpack is a record of weather events that take place during the winter. Heavy snows, wind, and even long dry spells, help create unique layers in the snowpack. The order in which these weather events occur determines both the structure and stability of the pack. The layers that tend to cause the most avalanche problems generally form between storms. Known as persistent weak layers, depth hoar, surface hoar, and near-surface facets are all problem layers that form in southwestern Montana. Each of these can exist in the snowpack for long periods of time.

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Monday, November 9, 2015 - 11:30am GNFAC

Why stability tests matter.

An online article posted October 29, 2015 for BackcountryMagazine.com on snowpits, avalanche character, and the difficulties and risks of traveling in various types of snow, is a welcome early season jump-start to get us thinking about snow and avalanches. Every snow climate is different and every professional forecaster looks at the snowpack through his and her own forecasting lens, but we are all trying to increase the understanding of avalanches in order have fun and stay alive.

Snowpit, Stability Test, GNFAC

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