Learn How to Ski Safely During our Current Avalanche Warning - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Learn How to Ski Safely During our Current Avalanche Warning

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The Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center says 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 back country of the Gallatin National Forest.

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

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

Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center Director, Doug Chabot says conditions are right for natural avalanches, but that isn't their biggest worry right now because, "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."

Because ski areas like Bridger Bowl take precautions to reduce avalanches in their boundaries, the real danger comes when skiers decide to go into the back country. Chabot says if you are going to do that, then make sure you are prepared, and that, " You want to go with a partner, because it always good to have someone there to watch each other and be safe. You also want to carry rescue gear, so you want to have an avalanche transceiver, a shovel, a metal shovel and a probe" Avalanches are easy to trigger. People can trigger avalanches from a distance.

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