Avalanche - Wet Loose Avalanche in Canyon Creek

Location Name: 
Skook Chutes, Canyon Creek
Region: 
Whitefish Range - Southern (south of Coal Creek)
Date and time of avalanche (best estimate if unknown): 
Sun, 01/25/2015 - 13:30


Red Flags: 
Recent avalanche activity
Rapid warming
Obvious avalanche path
Terrain Trap

Observation made by: Professional Observer
Avalanche Observations
Avalanche Type: 
Wet
Loose/Point-Release
Trigger type: 
Natural
Weak Layer: 
Other - explain below
Terrain: 
Below Treeline
Elevation: 
6 500ft.
Bed Surface: 
Old Snow
Number of similar avalanches: 
3
Number of people caught: 
1
Number of partial burials: 
1
Number of full burials: 
0
More detailed information about the avalanche: 

This is from a Flathead National Forest Snowmobile Observer:

"At approximately 1300 a group of snowmobilers were headed upcanyon on the Canyon Cr. Road.  We (The Forest Service group) passed them just east ofFiberglass Hill where we continued on from there looking at recent avalanche activity.  A few minutes after we had crossed paths their group split up with several of them taking the upper road.  A loose wet slide that appears to have started at the top of Skooks Chutes moved down slope colliding with the group on the upper road.  One snowmobiler was hit, the snowmobile and rider being swept down slope a short distance before stopping.  Another rider saw the avalanche coming and was able to run back down the road, leaving the machine which was taken down slope.  The rider involved in the avalanche was uninjured, but did need some assistance getting out (it sounded like minimal shoveling).  All parties and machines were able to resume riding and continue on."

The terrain where this occurred is a steep (>35 degree) south facing slope. There was recent loose, wet activity reported Saturday afternoon in this area as well., and this was mentioned in Sunday's advisory. Roller balls, deep ski or boot penetration, or slushy surface snow are indicators that it's time to move out of avalanche terrain. Keep in mind that even small avalanches can be dangerous in exposed terrain like cliff bands and terrain traps like gullies and creek beds.

 

Activity: 
Snowmobiling