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Avalanche Center Warns of High Risks Across Montana
Considerable avalanche danger in Northwest Montana
HELENA — U.S. Forest Service officials say there is a moderate to high avalanche risk this weekend in backcountry areas in Montana and the Idaho panhandle.

The Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center is warning skiers and snowmobilers that recent snowfall and strong winds have created unstable conditions.

The center issued a high avalanche danger advisory Friday for steep slopes in the mountains around Cooke City and the Bridger Range.

“Recent snowfall and strong winds have created unstable conditions,” said Doug Chabot with the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center.

“Be extra conservative in your decision making. There have been about 20 avalanche fatalities in the U.S. this winter, nine in the last two weeks, and six of these nine were in terrain near ski areas.”

Stan Bones of the Flathead National Forest is reporting considerable avalanche danger between an elevation of 5,000 and 7,500 feet. Considerable danger means natural avalanches are possible and human triggered avalanches are likely. For areas below 5,000 feet, avalanche danger is moderate. People traveling in the backcountry should evaluate snow and terrain carefully particularly in areas that have received significant amounts of new snowfall.

A winter storm also is expected to bring high avalanche danger to the Idaho Panhandle National Forests.

The avalanche danger is also high at elevations above 6,000 feet in areas from Lolo Pass to Lost Trail Pass in western Montana.
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