High avalanche warnings have been issued across west-central Montana including the southern Missions, southern Swans, and central Bitterroot. Such avalanche conditions have led to a recent incident near Lookout Pass.

"What we do know is that three skiers left the ski area. The first person that jumped into the basin triggered an avalanche. He was caught partially buried in and he broke a leg in the process. The other two were okay, but all three were stranded in that basin which is quite a ways away from the ski area," Montana Avalanche Center Director Steve Karkanen said. "It took Search and Rescue quite a bit of work and effort with Two Bear Air. Search and Rescue then went in and retrieved the third."

Karkanen said fortunately all skiers are in good condition, but avalanche danger continues to increase.

"We raised the avalanche danger to high for the central Bitterroot, the northern Bitteroot, the Rattlesnake, and the areas near Seeley Lake and the southern Swan and Mission mountains based on a lot of new snow," Karkanen said. "We are concerned about that for the next couple of days, especially if we continue to get high winds and more snow."

Karkanen said the most dangerous terrain is anything that’s steeper than 35 degrees, and anything leeward above 7,000 feet, as that’s where most avalanche potential lies right now.

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