The Avalanche danger is listed as "High" in the Bitterroot backcountry and other areas of Western Montana. The West Central Montana Avalanche Center issued the warning this week, in effect until at least Tuesday morning. It includes the Bitterroot, Rattlesnake, southern Missions and southern Swan Mountains (near Seeley Lake).

Officials said the heavy snow and rain, combined with high winds, has already caused avalanches and made other large avalanches possible. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended. And the conditions probably exist in Idaho and Montana areas outside the western Montana division, too. Whenever you go out into the back country on your skis, snowshoes and snow machine, make sure you take a transponder and snow shovel and let someone know when you are expecting to come back. Preparation can save lives. If you need more information ... in fact, before you head out anytime, check the avalanche center. Or you can call 406-549-4488 or 1-800-281-1030.