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Forest Service asks recreationalists to be winter aware and enjoy the season

◆ Avalanche danger listed as low in the Bridger-Teton.

The Rocky Mountain Regional Office of the Forest Service officially welcomed winter this week and asked outdoor enthusiasts to use common sense as they recreate.

“Now is a great time to get out and enjoy the winter snow, but with the new season comes challenges and safety considerations to take into account,” said Lawrence M. Lujan, media manager for the Rocky Mountain Regional Office of the Forest Service. “We want everyone to be able to enjoy this incredible time of year safely.”


“Travel conditions can vary greatly from the time you leave your home until you reach your destination, especially in mountain passes and at higher elevations,” Lujan continued. “It’s important to check road conditions before heading out and make sure you have the right gear in your car in case you run into delays. Winter weather can change quickly. Tire chains may be required. Remember to slow down when driving in winter conditions and use extra care while driving and parking.”

The Forest Service offered the following tips to make winter recreation enjoyable and safe.

• Choose your destination wisely. Have a backup plan in place in case you arrive to find a crowded trail head or unsafe conditions.

• Be certain that you have the proper safety gear for your winter adventure, including extra layers, a shovel, a probe, and an avalanche beacon, depending on the nature of your trip.

• Consider your vehicle as part of your winter emergency gear. Be sure that your tires are ready for the snow and carry extra clothing, food, water, and a sleeping bag in case you get stuck.

“Avalanches can strike even the most prepared winter recreationists,” Lujan said. “Check conditions with your local avalanche center before venturing out. Remember that avalanche equipment is only as helpful as your corresponding training and decision-making in avalanche terrain. Know how to use your gear and respect your physical limitations. Let people know where you are going. Get avalanche educated or hire a guide before you visit the backcountry.”

The avalanche danger in the Bridger-Teton is currently listed as low.

Commissary Ridge has a total snow depth of 36 inches.

Blind Bull Meadow has a snow depth of 19 inches.

The Box Y has a snow depth of 16 inches.

“Low hazard does not mean no hazard exists,” the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Report from Tuesday, December 15 states. “Above 9,000 feet small pockets of soft slab could be triggered on isolated, wind loaded terrain features and in extreme terrain. Elsewhere, avalanches are unlikely. The primary hazard remains shallow, early season snow pack and hidden obstacles just below the snow surface.”

A series of snowstorms is moving through the area in the next week. Current avalanche conditions are available from the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center.