The Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center began issuing forecasts several weeks early this year, good timing given considerable snowfall and two avalanches (here and here) triggered by skiers in extreme terrain.
Forecasters continue to improve the website. New this winter is an interactive map on the home page that allows users to find forecasts for other mountain ranges around the West, from the Gallatins of Montana to Utah’s Wasatch and even the San Juans in southern Colorado.
The home page also has a photo gallery of recent avalanches and conditions around the region. The site makes it easier for backcountry travelers to submit observations, and new layers on the avalanche event map show closures for motorized use and winter wildlife.
While traffic on the website continues to grow, phone use (307-733-2664) has dropped off sharply, so much so that forecasters have considered eliminating the phone recording. The number of calls has dropped from 40,000 in 2010-11 to 20,000 and then 10,000 the last two winters, forecaster Bob Comey says.
The snow depth at Grand Targhee is 4 feet. Targhee, located on the west slope of the Tetons above Alta, Wyo., opens tomorrow. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, which opens on Thanksgiving, has nearly 3 feet of settled snow.