Over the past month, many a mile has been passed by behind the wheel of Bombardier B12. Visiting Yellowstone during the winter months is by far a highlight of my year, honestly, I don’t feel that there is finer job out there in West Yellowstone. While traveling the upper reaches of watersheds such as the Yellowstone, Snake, Gallatin and Madison it’s possible to ascertain the area’s snow fall. While I don’t feel like I’m an expert on snow pack, it’s handy to compare what the NRCS SNOTEL Site reports with how things actually look around here.
This fall started out as a wet one and overall coverage by the end of rifle season was solid throughout the most of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The Rendezvous Ski Trails had fantastic condition for annual Fall Camp held every year here in town. When we entered the Park in early to mid December, the roads were in the best shape we’d seen in a long time, baring the Winter of 2010-2011 of course. At this point, snow pack percentages where doing fine, but I really wasn’t paying that much attention to them cause the white stuff was a plenty, and nobody really gives thought to snow pack in December cause it’s just too early to think about it. Certain areas were being hit harder than others and I can remember a storm or two than dropped hardly a skiff at our place on the Butte, but dumped in town, on upstream past Madison Junction in YNP and Betwix the Lakes. The most recent storms dropped quite a bit of Wet & Heavy on the ground and right now we are sitting pretty. Locally, the snow pack south and west of Town is slightly below average, but maybe the wind blew some of it away. When reviewing the percentages, it normally takes quite a bit more snow to get these types of moisture content scenarios. Basically, there is a ton of water in what we actually have on the ground and that seems to be the case all over the State of Montana and parts of Wyoming.
What does all this really mean? At this point, we have solid snow in the high country…..just where it’s supposed to be. If you haven’t heard, the avalanche advisory has been HIGH. Four days ago I saw photos from a slide on Lionhead that showed a 6 foot crown and it slid top to bottom – that’s scary shit. Also to note is that fishing has been really good when the wind isn’t blowing. Thus far, January has been quite warm compared to most and the Madison River down in the valley has been topping out at 38-39 degrees each day – that’s pretty darn good for January.
Stay tuned for more updates on snow pack….it’s always changing.
Madison – 107%
Jefferson – 117%
Gallatin – 120%