SALTESE, Mont. - Explosions rattled the hillsides just west of the chain up area on I-90. It had been over 20 hours since six snow slides and cracks visible in the snowpack prompted MDT to shut the highway down. Avalanche experts identified a slope 7 miles from the Idaho state line as the highest risk area. The slope has no cracks, but avalanche experts say it's those slopes that pose the risk of bigger avalanches.
To test the snow's integrity and eliminate the threat, they try to trigger avalanches with high explosives. Over 20 different detonations aimed to shake off the unstable snow.
The snow dislodged during these explosions was minimal. That's a welcome sign since it means the snow settled on Monday night.
There is considerable snow around the pass, over 2 feet of it. As temperatures warm, standing water and slippery driving will still occur.