THIS SNOWPACK SUMMARY EXPIRED ON February 6, 2017 @ 1:10 am
Snowpack Summary published on February 5, 2017 @ 8:10 am
Issued by Ben Bernall - Kootenai National Forest
Avalanche Character 1: Storm Slab
Storm Slab avalanches release naturally during snow storms and can be triggered for a few days after a storm. They often release at or below the trigger point. They exist throughout the terrain. Avoid them by waiting for the storm snow to stabilize.

Snotel sites in the Kootenai Region are reporting close to two feet of new snow loading since February 3rd, according to the forecast there is substantially more on the way.  This new snow has fallen on a number of surfaces that will result in poor bonding.  Crusts from the last warm period, followed by surface hoar that developed during the cold, clear and calm conditions conditions last week and a rapid loading of new snow will set the stage for VERY DANGEROUS AVALANCHE CONDITIONS.  Conditions are such that we may see many naturally triggered avalanches in the mountains this week.

Backcountry travelers should avoid playing on or below any steep slopes until this new snow has had ample time to settle.  A quick look at the mountain weather forecast below indicates that this may be a good time to stay out of the mountains and instead practice your shoveling techniques at home.

Snowpack Discussion

Join us at the Lakeside Inn in Trout Creek at 6 PM on February 7th for a 2 hour talk on avalanche rescue and recovery.

recent observations

If you are out and about please submit your avalanche observations by clicking the button to the left.

Check out the avalanche conditions in the Panhandle at for conditions across the border.

weather summary

Backcountry Forecast from NWS Missoula issued:
230 PM MST Sat Feb 4 2017

DISCUSSION: Impressive snowfall amounts have already been reported
across western Montana and north central Idaho Friday. Additional
light to moderate snow will occur today into Sunday, with another
round of prolonged intense heavy snow Sunday night through Monday.
In fact, several feet of snow is still expected for the terrain
along the Idaho/Montana border, including the Clearwaters,
Bitterroots, and the Kootenai, as well as northwest Montana
mountain ranges. The Whitefish, Glacier, JFS Canyon region,
Mission, and Swan mountains will be hit continuously with heavy,
dense snow during this time. Snowfall rates of 2 inches an hour
will be common. In addition, increasing north to northeast winds
will occur, causing further degradation of conditions.

Our confidence remains very high in the snowfall amounts being
forecast now through Monday. Confidence is moderate-to-high that
blizzard conditions are going to be a real concern Sunday night
through Monday in northwest Montana, making backcountry
conditions impassible.



--------------------------- 5000-7000 FT ----------------------------
                                  Tonight         Sun               Sun Night    Mon     
Cloud Cover              100%             100%            100%          100%    
Hi/Lo Temps             21 to 28        27 to 32        8 to 22        14 to 27
Winds(mph)              SW 17G45     SW 12G33     SE  9G21     E 12G25 
Precip Chc                100                100               100             100     

Precip Type               snow             snow             snow          snow    
Liquid Amt                0.41               0.52              0.83            0.81    
Snow Ratio(SLR)       15:1               16:1              18:1            20:1    
Snow Amt(in)            5-8                 7-11             12-16          14-18   

Snow Level               1500         2000         1000         0    


This advisory applies only to backcountry areas outside established ski area boundaries. This advisory describes general avalanche conditions and local variations always occur. This advisory expires midnight on the posted day unless otherwise noted. The information in this advisory is provided by the USDA Forest Service who is solely responsible for its content.