Avalanche Safety Is A Priority At Bridger Bowl - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Avalanche Safety Is A Priority At Bridger Bowl

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The Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center issued an avalanche warning for the backcountry of the Bridger Range and the northern Gallatin Range around Bozeman.

The avalanche center said more than 20 inches of snowfall on already unstable snowpack in the last couple of days prompted them to issue an avalanche warning for the Bridger Range and northern Gallatin Range.   

This comes after two Montana State University students triggered an avalanche and were swept several hundred yards and over a cliff Saturday, injuring one of them.

The two were skiing at Bridger Bowl when they left Bridger's boundaries to go skiing into the backcountry of the Gallatin National Forest.

Bridger Bowl Snow Safety Director Pete Maleski said they do what they can to make sure the ski area at Bridger Bowl is safe.

"We do extensive avalanche danger reduction within the boundaries of Bridger Bowl and we have closures pertinent to what we find each day," said Maleski.

This is the second time in less than a week a skier was swept by an avalanche in the Bridger Range near Bridger Bowl.

Maleski said in both cases, the skiers were skiing at their own risk since they went out of bounds.

"They were outside the areas we control or do avalanche hazard reduction on. In both instances the people were extremely lucky," Maleski said.

Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center Director Doug Chabot said conditions are right for natural avalanches, but that isn't their main concern right now.

"The weight of a person can actually collapse a weak layer and that can cause an avalanche and that is what we are really concerned about," said Chabot.

Because ski areas like Bridger Bowl takes precautions to reduce avalanches in their boundaries, the real danger comes when skiers decide to go into the backcountry.

Chabot says if you are going to do that, then make sure you are prepared.

"You want to go with a partner, because it always good to have someone there to watch each other and be safe," said Chabot. "You also want to carry rescue gear, so you want to have an avalanche transceiver, a shovel, a metal shovel and a probe."

Chabot said avalanches are easy to trigger, people can trigger avalanches from a distance.    

You can always check the latest avalanche conditions in the Gallatin National Forest here, or call 406-587-6981.


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