March 10, 2013

Montana!

For about the last year or more, Ava and I have had a bit of an obsession with Montana.  This manifests itself in many diverse ways.  One example of this is that after battling through Seattle traffic for an hour in order to travel about 5 miles, we'll state matter-of-factly that this would never happen in Montana.  At any rate, we finally committed to a road trip in which we would spend 4 days skiing in the wonderfully underpopulated state of Montana.

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Our first stop was Missoula, where we headed toward Lolo Pass in search of snow cover.  While most of the Rockies were suffering even more than usual for a solid snowpack, the situation seemed particularly wanting in the Missoula area.  We drove the Impreza up a snowy Forest Service road slightly farther than we reasonably should have.  Unfortunately the road was the only part of the hillside with snow on it, but we managed to have a good day out anyway.

Aerial Snow Starfish
Then we were off to Bozeman, where we had booked a place on Air BnB for the duration of our trip.  Over the next three days, we encountered nuking snow storms, blue skies, and came a long way in terms of figuring out the backcountry ski scene in the Bozeman vicinity.

First Peek at Deer Creek Peak

Deer Creek Peak Summit (me sporting a front rat tail)

Shreddin' Hella

Backside at Lick Creek
The snowpack was pretty consistent, with one to three feet of snow over about 6 inches of facets making for predictably unstable conditions everywhere.  Relatively cool air temperatures were great for powder preservation, so even when it wasn't snowing we had plenty of powder snow to ski on.  In four days of Montana backcountry skiing, we saw only one other backcountry skier, and that was in the parking area.  For the most part, it was hard to even find tracks from previous visitors, and this was on a holiday weekend. It's safe to say that Montana was everything we'd hoped it would be.

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