Montana Public Radio

West Central Montana Avalanche Center

Cars fill a parking lot at Snowbowl mountain April 01,2020. Guidelines for safe recreation during the coronavirus pandemic include social distancing and toning down the risks in order to protect first responders and preserve hospital beds.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

According to a 2018 report from Headwaters Economics, nearly 90 percent of Montanans participate in outdoor recreation for physical and mental well-being. But safety concerns amid the novel coronavirus outbreak are complicating how people get outside.

West Central Montana Avalanche Center

Two of three Montana men back-country snowmobiling in the Dinah Lake area Wednesday northwest of Seeley Lake were buried under several feet of heavy, wet snow. Their surviving friend was able to dig himself out of the avalanche and call for help. 

An avalanche slide on Mount Jumbo in Missoula, Feb. 28, 2019.
Courtesy William Marcus

An avalanche warning is posted for one of the two mountains overlooking the city of Missoula.

"We’re seeing dangerous avalanche conditions and a snowpack that we see nowhere else in our advisory area," says Travis Craft, the director of the West Central Montana Avalanche Center which is evaluating snowpack on Missoula’s Mount Jumbo.

Reviewing Avalanche Safety With 'Field Notes'

New snow is piling up on top of a weak base in western Montana’s backcountry. That’s why the West Central Montana Avalanche Center bumped the avalanche danger rating to ‘considerable’ through Wednesday morning.