Winter is approaching and things are shaping up nicely. Recall that in early October we got our first snowfall. That was enticing, but quickly melted. On October 24 a cold front produced about 6-8 inches in the high country, and that slowly melted. The last storm on November 10th gave us 5-7 inches, possibly more in places, and that snow remains. What I can see from Snotel sites across our region on Thursday night, November 12, is this - Hidden Lake @ 5,040 in the Selkirks - 4", Schweitzer @ 6,090 - 5", Bear Mountain in the Cabinets @ 5,400 - 6", Poorman in the East Cabinets @ 5,100 - 12", Hawkins Lake in the Purcells @ 6,450 - 5", and Sunset in the Bitterroots @ 5,540 - 6". We'll be picking up another 1-2 feet of snow in the high country and potentially a good dumping down low too between Thursday night and Saturday. The temperature will stay cold enough that snow density will remain light and that could produce large drifts when the wind picks up on Friday. If you're out hunting and trekking through some variable terrain keep your eye on the snow. If you see big wind deposition on lee aspects you should probably avoid it. If you're looking for early tracks, these wind loaded places will be touchy. There is essentially not enough snow to be getting off trail unless you're snowshoeing or walking.
We'll be starting our regular avalanche forecasts in mid-December once we get enough snow. Our forecasts will come out twice a week, Tuesday and Friday, just like last year. Take a look at our education page if you're interested in taking an avalanche class this year. Do it quickly because our classes are filling up. We'll also be posting forecast information to our facebook page. Ben Bernall is your man on the Kootenai based out of Troy. Melissa Hendrickson is your gal for the Silver Valley. She's got help from Mike Churh on the Montana side. She's also the head honcho this year. Eric Morgan and Kevin Davis are coming at you in the Cabinets and Selkirks out of Sandpoint. Get your gear out of the closet and give it a once over. It's that time again and the weather forecasters are saying it's going to be a big winter. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and we'll catch up when the next big dump hits.
Avalanche conditions change for better or worse continually. Backcountry travelers should be prepared to assess current conditions for themselves, plan their routes of travel accordingly, and never travel alone. Backcountry travelers can reduce their exposure to avalanche hazards by utilizing timbered trails and ridge routes and by avoiding open and exposed terrain with slope angles of 30 degrees or more. Backcountry travelers should carry the necessary avalanche rescue equipment such as a shovel, avalanche probe or probe ski poles, a rescue beacon and a well-equipped first aid kit. For a recorded version of the Avalanche Advisory call (208)765-7323.
This website is owned and maintained by the Friends of the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center. Some of the content is updated by the USDA avalanche forecasters including the forecasts and some observational data. The USDA is not responsible for any advertising, fund-raising events/information, or sponsorship information, or other content not related to the forecasts and the data pertaining to the forecasts.