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Experts warn Flathead avalanche conditions remain dangerous

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Posted at 4:30 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 18:30:48-04

WHITEFISH — Despite it being April on the calendar, avalanche forecasters are seeing mid-winter like avalanche conditions this week in the Flathead range.

Mountain ranges in the Flathead Valley saw two to three feet of cold dry snow accumulate last week.

Flathead Avalanche Center Director Zach Guy said conditions have led to weak snow layers producing a large number of dangerous avalanches, which is uncommon this time of year.

With ski resorts closed due to the coronavirus, Guy said popular back-country areas have seen a large number of activity.

Guy said an uptick of avalanches have occurred in heavily-recreated areas.

He advises back-country thrill-seekers to take extra precautions, and to never recreate in the back-country alone.

“It’s been a very challenging snow pack the last week. We’ve had a number of near misses, people triggering large or very large avalanches. Definitely the kind of avalanches that people don’t survive when they get caught in them,” said Guy.

Due to lack of funding, the Flathead Avalanche Center will be reporting bi-weekly forecasts the next few weeks instead of daily updates.

Guy said public feedback is encouraged on the avalanche observation page at flatheadavalanche.org.