The Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center is embracing the 21st century in its work to keep Montana backcountry users educated and safe. They recently added a video page that shows how to do two basic tests: the compression test (CT) and the extended column test (ECT). The site also had a video on snow pit selection choices.

Check it out: mtavalanche.com/stabilitytests

These guys are up at 4 a.m. and out in the mountains November-April. They are one of the strongest avalanche centers in the country because of their knowledge, creativity and ability to communicate in a simple, clear way.

Because they forecast for such a broad area, the GNFAC relies heavily on backcountry user input and observations. The more standardized these tests become between all users, the better our communication and understanding can become.