Cornice Falls Dangerous This Time Of Year - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Cornice Falls Dangerous This Time Of Year

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BOZEMAN -

Bridger Bowl officials remind people, when you leave their boundaries, you are skiing at your own risk.

This comes after one person was injured in a cornice fall just north of the ski boundary Thursday.

Avalanche experts said cornices are formed from snow blowing over a mountain ridge creating a large overhang on the side of the mountain.

Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center Specialist Mark Staples said sometimes that snow breaks off creating a cornice fall, which is common this time of year.

"When we have this really warm weather, the snow in the cornices start to creep and they can break," said Staples. "They could be hazards themselves, but they can cause avalanches as well."

GNF Avalanche Center Specialist Doug Chabot said while cornice falls can lead to an avalanche, that's not what happened Thursday, which is probably what helped the skier dig himself out.

In an avalanche the snow slides down the mountain.

In a cornice fall, it just falls from above.

Mark Staples said cornice falls can also be very dangerous.

"The scary thing about cornices is they are extremely unpredictable, we don't really know when they are going to break or where they are going to break, and often time they break off farther away than you think," said Staples.

Ski patrol director Doug Richardson said they limit the cornices inside the Bridger ski area.

"As soon as they leave the boundary, the go from they go from heavily maintained or mitigated hazards to completely wild open, no mitigation work at all," said Richardson.

Since many people go backcountry skiing around Bridger Bowl, Richardson said they do what they can to warn people of the dangers of skiing out of bounds.

"We have pretty good signage with a lot of warnings on there that talk about the chance of injury or death," said Richardson.

Richardson suggests checking the daily avalanche forecast if you plan on skiing in the backcountry.

You can find that here.

 

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