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Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center warns of early season dangers

By Katherine Mozzone, KTVM Reporter, kmozzone@ktvm.com
Published On: Sep 26 2013 01:27:26 PM MDT

Photo Courtesy Bridger Bowl

BOZEMAN, Mont. -

With several inches of snow in the mountains, some folks are already thinking about hitting the slopes, but folks at the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center say it's more about the experience than making turns.

That's because any place with enough snow to ski also holds enough snow to avalanche, namely steep, wind-loaded gullies.

Folks with the avalanche center tell us anyone heading out to the backcountry to ski will want to be prepared with a transceiver, shovel and probe.

They say that goes for hunters, too.

Avalanche experts explain hunters are often more susceptible to slides, since they often travel alone and without proper avalanche gear.

"They're crossing through gullies in areas that can be potentially dangerous with avalanches so, really pay attention, especially if you're in steep terrain trap areas that can catch you off guard," says Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center's Eric Knoff.

Knoff doesn't recommend skiing this early in the season, though it can be done.

He explains folks who want to explore the backcountry should also be aware of hidden obstacles like rocks and stumps.