MISSOULA, Mont. — Winter storms have recently topped off western Montana ski slopes, but officials warn the new snow can pose risks for backcountry skiers.

The Missoulian reports the Flathead Avalanche Center issued an avalanche advisory for the northwest Montana area after 3 feet (1 meter) of dense snow fell on top of more fragile layers.

Officials advise backcountry skiers to allow the snow to settle before heading out.

Whitefish Mountain Resort officials say 28 inches (71 centimeters) of snow fell over the past week, bringing the total to 57 inches (144 centimeters). Officials say the storms have put the slope in good shape to open by Christmas.

Missoula’s Montana Snowbowl is opening new runs daily. Officials report 54 inches (137 centimeters) at the summit and 36 inches (91 centimeters) at the base.

Information from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com

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