Trip Planning for Southern Madison

as of 5:00 am
Apr 302″ | NA
Apr 29 2″ | NA
Apr 28 3″ | NA
9460′     03/30 at 14:00
N - 0mph
Gusts 1mph
9000′   08/09 at 02:00
1″ Depth
Bottom Line: Spring weather can be highly variable and create a mix of avalanche problems to watch out for. Snow conditions and snow stability can change drastically from day to day or hour to hour. Anticipate rapid change and plan accordingly. Plenty of snowfall over the winter with more spring snow to come makes avalanches possible into summer.

Past 5 Days

Mon Apr 18

Fri Apr 22

Mon Apr 25

Fri Apr 29

Mon May 2


Relevant Photos

Displaying 1 - 40
  • From 5/21/22: "other older slides were visible on a wind loaded NW oriented slopes at the bottom of the basin. Still feels like winter out there with lots of light snow up high!"  Photo: C. Chupik

  • From 5/21/22: "Triggered a small slide underneath the cornice of the southeast chute off of Emigrant peak. The slide was 50 ft wide,  4 inches deep, and ran for about 100 ft. The slide was not large enough to knock you off your feet (D1). The latest storm had deposited about 12 inches of new snow underneath the cornice." Photo: C. Chupik

  • Natural avalanche that occurred at Bridger early on 5/9/22. There were many similar depth natural crowns along the ridge that broke within the recent snow that fell over the weekend.

  • Crown of a natural avalanche that occurred at Bridger on 5/9/22. There were many similar depth natural crowns along the ridge that broke within the recent snow that fell over the weekend.

  • Obs 5/9/22: "found an intact graupel layer buried by 10-14” of fresh snow. Got cracking on it (ectn 17, ct 18) but no propagation. Also saw lots old of storm slabs/wind slab crowns."

  • Natural wet loose avalanche in Beehive Basin. Occurred on Wednesday 5/4 after new snow fell on Tuesday.

  • Wet loose snow avalanches of recent 6" of snow. They likely occurred when the sun came out Wednesday morning, or at the end of the storm on Tuesday. GNFAC

  • "5/3/22 at approximately 4:00pm a storm slab avalanche occurred in beehive basin on a west aspect @9000 ft. This slab was 6-8” deep and propagated around 50’. No one was buried, however we aren’t sure if anyone was caught because we were not the party who triggered this avalanche. We did witness the party drop in but quick went out of sight." Photo: H. Bigos-Lowe

  • Skiers reported shooting cracks from their skis while ascending the terrain at Bridger Bowl. The group later remotely triggered an avalanche from 100'+ away that ran through the "Pearly Gates" and "Patrol Chute". 

  • On 4/18/22 near Cooke City we witnessed natural rollerballs and pinwheels by 11 am, and a couple wet loose slides below cliffs on southerly slopes around noon, and were able to easily trigger pinwheels on west-southwest aspects around 1230-1pm. Photo: GNFAC

  • A large drift on the Ramp just north of Bridger Bowl. Photo: GNFAC

  • Drifts cracked and slid on steep rollovers north of Bridger Bowl. Photo: K Hammonds

  • An avalanche on Wilson Peak that caught two skiers and injured one on 4/3/22. Photo: GNFAC

  • On 3/27/22 Big Sky ski patrol witnessed many natural wet slides in closed terrain. Photo: BSSP

  • "We also conducted avalanche mitigation on our Cabin’s Road at 4:30pm. The snowpack in this zone doesn’t get skied and is representative of the backcountry. The slope is ENE around 8,400’. Several wet slab avalanches were produced with explosives and ski cutting. The avalanches ranged from R4/D2 to R2/D1. They all hit the road and several crossed, and buried, the Cabin’s Road. Although most of this mitigation was done with explosives, it took minimal effort with skis to get snow moving. The crowns were 2-3’ deep and ran on the ground." Photo: YCSP

  • "A wet loose avalanche was seen in the Apron (closed terrain that hasn’t been opened this season) around 3:00pm. It was an R2/D2 on a east facing slope around an elevation of 8,500’." Photo: YCSP

  • Natural wet slab avalanche on Cedar Mtn. Observed 3/26/22. Photo: J. Gerardi

  • Natural slab avalanche on the Sphinx. Observed 3/26/22. Photo: J. Gerardi

  • From obs 3/26/22: "Freezing temps overnight created breakable crust in the morning which quickly deteriorated as the day warmed. (Temps rose surprisingly faster than we anticipated.  Experience large whumphs while ascending the NW shoulder of Electric Pk. at 9600 ft. Without hesitation we turned back and skied out the skin track. The snow became very rotten and we penetrated to boot-tops often while exiting." Photo:  S. Miller

  • On March 26 many natural wet slides occurred in closed terrain at Bridger Bowl. Photo: BBSP

  • A snowmobiler triggered this slide on 3/26/22 on a northeast facing slope near 9,000' in the Taylor Fork area.

  • Natural avalanche in Sunlight Basin that broke within the last week. Estimated 2 ft deep and 500 ft wide. Photo taken 3/22/22. Photo: GNFAC

  • Natural avalanche in Sunlight Basin that broke within the last week. Estimated 2 ft deep and 500 ft wide. Photo taken 3/22/22. Photo: GNFAC

  • Natural avalanche in Sunlight Basin that broke within the last week. Estimated 2 ft deep and 500 ft wide. Photo taken 3/22/22. Photo: GNFAC

  • We saw this natural avalanche on 3/19/22 appeared to be within 24 hours old and triggered by cornice fall that broke out a slab below. Northeast aspect at 8,800' on Lionhead Ridge. Photo: GNFAC

  • Wet slides occurred near Quake Lake on 3/3 or 3/4. Photo. T. Hansen

  • Large wet slabs happened in Cabin Creek on 3/3 or 3/4/22. Photo: T. Sizemore

  • From obs. 2/27/22: "Shooting cracks in a thin wind slab on a ridge crest. The slab was small but the collapse was abrupt and propagated 20 feet." Photo: J. Taylor

  • From obs on 2/25/22: "18 inches of new snow from last week slid on top of crust layer.  The slide on the left was triggered by an uphill snowmobile hill climber, the slide on the right occurred when snowmobile  turned out of a hill climb and his track broke through the crust layer causing everything with in his up and downhill track to slide."

  • This is the slope that avalanched and killed a snow bike rider (motorized) on 2/19/22. Photo is from the Search and Rescue team who were leaving the site as it was getting dark, and did not have time to gather more info. Click link below for more details. Photo: B. Zavora

  • We saw this fairly recent, very small cornice fall avalanche on Cedar Mtn. on 2/12/2022. Photo: GNFAC

  • Chris Hericks, snow ranger on Beaverhead Deerlodge NF, points to the lower of two surface hoar layers. We are finding similar layering throughout our entire forecast area. The top 18" of the snowpack is weak and will quickly become unstable when it snows. Photo: GNFAC

  • The crown is not visible (it is down and right) but the X marks the approximate spot the rider was found. Photo: GNFAC

  • The crown was measured 4-11 inches deep and 75 feet wide. Photo: GNFAC

  • Looking at a weak layer of facets that the avalanche propagated on. Photo: GNFAC

  • Looking at the crown from below. Photo: GNFAC

  • On Sunday, February 6, Gallatin Country Sheriff Search and Rescue and the GNFAC responded to a avalanche in Lionhead. A snowmobiler was killed on a small steep slope when a shallow avalanche carried him into a terrain trap of trees. Photo: GNFAC

  • This morning while ascending a line on Sawtooth Mountain (Lower Novocain) we triggered an avalanche (ASu-SS-R2-D2-O)  that caught and carried my partner an estimated 180M and partially buried him. His leg and hand were unburied and excavation of the head was done in less than 2 minutes of the incident. The avalanche only involved new snow from the last 48hrs and was triggered on a MF crust/facet combo 30cm down(formed 1/30/22). The avalanche was 30cm at its deepest and 20-30M wide and ran 250M. We were lucky to find both skis and poles a little ways downslope. No injuries were sustained.

    We both agree that we were trying to outsmart the instability that was present on steeper S facing terrain and should have turned around much sooner, we were very lucky. There was 30+cm HST in favored areas and the high winds from 1/31/22 formed some sensitive windslabs in specific areas. 


  • Graph of Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) at SNOTEL sites in the GNFAC forecast area from October 1, 2021 to January 30, 2022. It highlights the extended dry conditions in January that contributed to weak layers forming at the top of the snowpack. GNFAC

Videos- Southern Madison


Raynolds Pass, Looking N

Snowpit Profiles- Southern Madison


Select a snowpit on the map to view the profile image

Weather Forecast Southern Madison

Extended Forecast for

20 Miles S Big Sky MT

  • Overnight

    Overnight: Mostly clear, with a low around 51. Southwest wind around 6 mph.

    Mostly Clear

    Low: 51 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: Sunny, with a high near 73. Southwest wind around 6 mph becoming light and variable.


    High: 73 °F

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 55. Northeast wind 6 to 8 mph becoming south southeast after midnight.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 55 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon.  Mostly sunny, with a high near 76. South southeast wind 7 to 11 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

    Mostly Sunny
    then Slight

    High: 76 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before midnight.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 55. South wind 7 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph.

    Showers then
    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 55 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: A slight chance of showers, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm after noon.  Mostly cloudy, with a high near 69. South wind 8 to 10 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 70%.

    Slight Chance
    Showers then

    High: 69 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday Night: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before midnight.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 52. West southwest wind 7 to 9 mph becoming south in the evening.

    Showers then
    Mostly Cloudy

    Low: 52 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm after noon.  Partly sunny, with a high near 71. South southeast wind 6 to 8 mph becoming west in the afternoon.

    Mostly Sunny
    then Showers

    High: 71 °F

  • Friday

    Friday Night: Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm before midnight, then a slight chance of showers.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 53.


    Low: 53 °F

The Last Word

Thank you to everyone that sent in observations, read the advisories, took an avalanche class or donated money, time or gear. Our success is directly related to community support and the Forest Service. Have a safe spring and summer! See this article for some general spring travel advice.