You are here:   Home » Recreation » Stay Safe Outdoors » Snow & Ice » Avalanches

Avalanche Awareness

Be cautious of avalanche dangers throughout mountain country. Mountain recreators should carry avalanche beacons, shovels, and probe poles for locating people buried under the snow (and know how to use them) and a portable radio to summon help.

Safety tips for recreating in avalanche country:

Avalanche beacon, shovel, and probe poles.
  • Only one snowmobile rider should be on the slope at a time.
  • Learn to recognize and understand avalanche-prone terrain. Suspect any slope that is steeper than 30 degrees.
  • Observe the slope orientation with respect to the sun and the wind.
  • Be cautious of cornices.
  • Think about the consequeneces of an avalanche. Will you be carried over a cliff, pushed into a tree or buried deep in a gully?
  • Travel with a partner and carry the appropriate rescue gear.
  • Practice using an avalanche beacon.

Avalanche Safety Video

Learn how the shovel evolved to become an essential safety tool for snowmobile riders. See movie

Web Avalanche Resources:

The following resources are provided to help you learn more about avalanche safety and to check current conditions:

This site provides links to avalanche centers across the US, as well as other valuable avalanche information:

Forest Service National Avalanche Center

This information is divided into two categories: Motorized (snowmobiling) and Nonmotorized (snowboarders, skiing, and snowshoeing). It provides detailed information about avalanche basics such as:

The site also provides information about avalanche awareness skills, such as:

Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center (GNFAC)

The GNFAC covers a large area including the Bridger, Gallatin, Madison, and Washburn Ranges, the Lionhead area near West Yellowstone, and the mountains around Cooke City. This site provides:

Glacier Country Avalanche Center (GCAC)

The GCAC region is approximately 10,000 square miles in Northwest Montana. Their Web site provides:

Missoula Regional Avalanche Advisory

Sponsored by the West Central Montana Avalanche Foundation (WCMAF), this Web site provides avalanche information about West Central Montana. Check for:

Utah Avalanche Center

Although this Web site is about Utah, it contains a useful avalanche FAQ and "Know Before You Go" online course and video.