The West Central Montana Avalanche Center (WCMAC) has announced the following staff changes for the upcoming 2016-2017 winter avalanche season.

Travis Craft, has assumed leadership responsibilities for the center. Steve Karkanen, director of the center since 2006, retired at the end of the 2015-2016 season. Karkanen, an avalanche specialist for the Lolo National Forest since the late 1990s and a professional ski patroller from 1979 to 1998, remains involved with the center in an advisory capacity.

Craft, along with Logan King, will provide avalanche advisories and education opportunities throughout the financed season. Both have several years of avalanche forecasting and professional ski patrol experience in western Montana.

WCMAC operates under a Cost Share Agreement with the Lolo National Forest to provide avalanche safety information for frequently accessed locations on Forest Service (Public) land on the Bitterroot, Lolo and Clearwater National Forests.

Regular avalanche advisories begin in mid-December are posted on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings from mid December through March. Special updates are posted as needed during periods of high avalanche danger.

Please visit the center’s website to view these advisories or to sign up for regular email and other social media notifications. An avalanche information phone line is also available by calling 406-549-4488 or 1-800-281-1030.

The West Central Montana Avalanche Foundation, a 501-3c nonprofit, assists the center with fund raising activities and provides education opportunities. Josh Tapp, also a long time ski patroller and first responder, has been hired by the Foundation as the education coordinator for the 2016-2017 season.

If you have questions about avalanche conditions or education events, please email [email protected] or call 406-530-9766. The center has no dedicated office staff so please leave a detailed message and someone will reply within a few days.