GNFAC Avalanche Forecast for Fri Feb 3, 2023

Not the Current Forecast

Good morning. This is Ian Hoyer with the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Forecast on Friday, February 3rd at 7:00 a.m. Today’s forecast is sponsored by Blitz Motorsports and Yamaha and Avalanche Alliance. This forecast does not apply to operating ski areas.

Mountain Weather

There is no new snow to report. Winds are out of the south and west at 15-25 mph, gusting 30-40 mph. Temperatures are in the teens and 20s F. Today will be mostly sunny, with high temperatures in the 20s F. Moderate to strong winds will continue out of the south and west. A few flakes of snow may fall tonight, but the next chance for significant accumulation is on Sunday.

Snowpack and Avalanche Discussion

All Regions

Triggering large avalanches remains possible today. Heavy snowfall at the end of last week and strong winds the last couple days pushed weak layers past their breaking point. Many large, natural and human triggered avalanches broke over the last week, including a skier triggered slide on a wind loaded slope near Big Sky yesterday (observation, avalanche log). As we get further out from the big storm, it is getting harder to trigger a slide, but it is clearly still possible to trigger one, and if you do, it’ll still be large and dangerous. Strong winds the last few days blew the new snow around and kept the hazard elevated on the many slopes where drifts developed. Be extra skeptical today of slopes with recent wind drifting. 

You could trigger slides on weak layers buried 1-3 ft deep and also near the ground (N. Bridgers video from yesterday). In some areas these weak layers are buried surface hoar, in others they are facets, it doesn’t really make a whole lot of difference at the moment - dig and test the layers to see how they are reacting in the area you’re in. Areas that had a thin snowpack before the recent storm remain especially concerning (Specimen Creek observation, Mt. Ellis video)

Keep your eyes out for signs of instability such as recent avalanches, poor test scores and whumpfs and be ready to shift gears and avoid steep slopes if you find them. If you’re going to poke into avalanche terrain, make sure you’re carrying rescue gear (beacon, shovel, and probe), going one at a time, and have a partner watching you from a safe location. 

The avalanche danger rating has dropped to MODERATE today across the advisory area. This reflects the fact that avalanches have gotten a little harder to trigger, but does not represent a dramatic decrease in the hazard. Riding steep slopes still merits caution and requires careful snowpack assessment. 

Please share avalanche, snowpack or weather observations via our website, email (, phone (406-587-6984), or Instagram (#gnfacobs).  


The King and Queen is this Saturday and we have filled all of our participant slots. We can not take any more hikers, but we can definitely take pledges!  Help support the Friends of the Avalanche Center by making a donation.

Upcoming Avalanche Education and Events

Our education calendar is full of awareness lectures and field courses. Check it out: Events and Education Calendar.

February 4, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., LIVINGSTON Avalanche Fundamentals. Information and course registration are HERE.

February 5, 10 a.m.-2p.m. Companion Rescue Clinic Field Day in the Bozeman area. Required Online Classroom Session at 6 p.m. on Feb 3. Information and course registration are HERE.

February 9, FREE Avalanche Awareness at REI Bozeman. More details to come.

February 11, 10 a.m.-2p.m. Companion Rescue Clinic Field Day in the Bozeman area. Required Online Classroom Session at 6 p.m. on Feb 10. Information and course registration are HERE.

Every Saturday, 10 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Avalanche Rescue Training, drop in for any amount of time. Round Lake Warming Hut, Cooke City. Free. 

Loss in the Outdoors, is a support group for those who have been affected by grief and loss related to outdoor pursuits. Check out the link for more information.


The Last Word

Bruce Jamieson’s videos on Snow Science explain heady topics to the layman. Understanding the avalanche dragon helps keep us alive.

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