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High avalanche danger in Northwest Montana

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Posted at 4:17 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 20:10:45-05

KALISPELL — The Flathead Avalanche Center issued an Avalanche Warning for the Flathead, Whitefish and Swan Mountain ranges Monday as conditions reached dangerously high levels.

Flathead Avalanche Center Director Blase Reardon said the avalanche warning will run through Tuesday morning at 6:30 a.m. but may be extended if dangerous conditions continue.

Reardon says moderate to strong winds along with new snow and changing snow levels in the forecast prompted avalanche officials to issue the warning.

Reardon said the avalanche center has recorded 10 avalanche incidents in February of 2021, more than double the average number of incidents reported in a normal February.

Avalanche danger is high in Montana

He says snowboarders and snow bikers triggered three different avalanches in the Flathead, Whitefish and Swan ranges on Saturday, luckily avoiding serious injuries.

“People either triggered slides remotely that were pretty big and weren’t caught, they were on a slab when it released and managed to ride off or in the case of the snow biker they were caught, carried and buried mostly to their neck,” said Reardon.

Reardon said those venturing off into the backcountry should always check the Flathead Avalanche Center website each morning for daily forecast updates.