Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Sad Reminder that Early Snow Is Not Necessarily Safe Snow

It's very early in the ski season, yet a backcountry skier died in an avalanche on Imp Peak in the Madison Range of Montana on Saturday.

Source: Friends of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center
Some basic information is available in this article from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

This is a sad reminder that early snow is not necessarily safe snow.  The central Wasatch has had early season fatalities in the past, including within resort terrain, which is de facto backcountry during the preseason.  Keep this in mind when we start to see snow piling up again.  


  1. Reading the news account - such a horrible tragedy!

  2. Not clear on the snowpack in Montana. Appears that they have more snow than us, in particular a storm on September 15.

    I haven't been in the Central Wasatch but I spend a lot of time on Lookout Peak and we seem to have widespread snow cover above about 9000 feet. The northern powder circuit in particular seems suspect to me when the next storms arrive if this snow stays. Time will tell, at this point it seems the pack is going to be unusually dangerous for at least the first few storms. Steep slopes, and as this accident demonstrates, the flatter terrain beneath them seem guilty until proven otherwise.

  3. Read the back story to the Montana avalanche death. Google "Hayden Kennedy".

    1. Yes, I saw shortly after the post. Very sad and tragic.