Monday, January 28, 2008

Cold smoke at the Bowl today

I awoke to the windows rattling this morning, the wind was howling. After a quick check to the snow report, I was gearing up. Wind would have buffed her clean I thought. The recording claimed 14" in the last 2 days with 6" overnight. That was about as good as I've seen Snowbowl.

I linked up with a good buddy and carpooled up after a quick brody in the 7R lot. Kinda felt like Ivan Iron Man Stewart there for a second. We were 15th chair (but who's counting?). The Griz was totally smooth, save the swales of goodness laid across the top. It was all of a new 6" super light cold smoke on top of a smooth base. Contrails of snow were drifting 50 feet behind all the riders. Managed to bang out 14000 vertical feet today with 6 runs. The money was over near Powerlines. All that and I was still able to get home by 100 and change some diapers!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ski & snomo trip

This is what we had to look at the whole weekend.

A month or so ago a buddy threw out the idea of going down to his cabin in SW Montana, we all jumped on the idea and made some plans.

There was some tentativeness from the group as the day before we were set to leave temps dropped into the MINUS 35 range (without wind chill). Luckily things had warmed up to a balmy 5 degrees as we loaded up the snowmobiles and what seemed to be an endless amount of gear (yes there was beer and booze too).

On 1/22 Tues we rolled up the canyon and got to the cabin at about 130pm. We geared up and snowmobiled 15 miles that day. Our goal was to break the trail with our snowmobiles so that it would be easier the next day. The snow got really deep, 2 feet as we got higher in the drainage. Steve’s snowmobile broke down in the first hour. What luck? As he rounded a corner he ran over a frozen owl which then got caught in this tracks and stalled the sled. It fucked up the clutch assembly. Steve opted to stay there and start a fire while we continued on our mission. After 3 hours we finally made it back to where Steve was, only he had started walking back, guess he was cold. We towed the busted snowmobile back to the cabin and picked up Steve enroute.

Wednesday the 23rd came early. After a huge greasy breakfast we left the cabin at 9am in the 5 degrees temp. The wind bit on our noses as we rallied the snomos at 30 mph. We snowmobiled up 8 miles and parked at the Sailor lake gate. From there we started our skintrack up to the lake. It was tough to decide what we should ski, the terrain was imposing to say the least. There was a lot of exposure and we were looking to minimize that, finding the powder was priority numero uno. We skied a short little shot after changing our minds on what to ski 2 times. We finally skinned up a south facing slope (shallow snowpack in the scree). We busted out one lap on great snow on the apron. Round two: skinned back up and then bootpacked about 400’ to the ridge. V started a fire (named the chute Burnt Pine) on the ridge, of which we dropped off of. The run was very rocky at the top. I was able to go last and missed the rocks, getting into great snow after about 100’ and skied the whole chute. We were back to the sleds at about 4pm. V's knee is hurt from a fall in the chute.

Digging a pit on the 2nd day

Our turns on the apron

Total vertical toured = 2000ft – 1.5 miles of up time; got 1 200', 1 400’, 1 800’, 1 500’ (back to the sled)

On our last day of the trip, 1/24 we got a bit of a later start. The group was a grogy from too much grog and the legs a bit tired. But the skies were crystal blue, except after we started the snowmobiles. Smoke bilged forth and we set out again. Only today we were one dude down, V was going to hang at the cabing to recoup the knee. Steve, Nate and I parked at the same spot as the day before. The trail was great and we had no issues getting up there. We skinned across Sailor lake towards the big apron that was calling our name. A quick climb up through the trees looker left and we were on top. The pit showed moderate conditions, CT 17 if I remember right. The aspect was somewhat shaded and was on the leeward side so the snow was excellent. The group ripped that twice, and I hit again for the last run. Steve and Nate explored the nice snow in the trees. We named it the Duke chute b/c the duke I left at the bottom of it. All in all a total of 2100’ skied – 1.3 miles up time

Nate ripping on day 2, a nice rooster of cold smoke

A long ride - Lost Horse

1/17 Fri – Lost Horse Canyon – Kerns, Finn, Vinni and I get 830am start from Lolo. Lost Horse canyon is in the southern end of the Bitterroot Valley on the west side. It's one of the only roads that extends way West, back towards the wilderness boundary, offering excellent access for skiing. We parked at the trailhead, the only trucks in the parking lot! We were stoked and on the snowmobiles by 10am. The trail was in horrible shape, with whoops the entire way. Every once in a while you could get in a little rhythm, which usually meant excessive use of the throttle.

Twelve miles back from the parking lot, we finally reached the area we thought we would ski. There was at least 10 feet of snow on the ground. Looking up at imposing Ohio Slided (a massive 3000 foot avalanche slide path), we were inspired. Vinni couldn't resist showing us what his snowmobile could do. He took off like a bat out of hell up the slide. As he started to loose traction and make his turn around, the sled died. Up comes the hood, never a good sign. After finally getting him on the radio, he said his sled wouldn't start. He said to go on w/o him, so we did.

The 3 of us rode past the cabin at fork (had 10ft on the roof), then all of the sudden the snow got really deep. Kerns was in front and started to bog down in the 2 feet of new snow. With snow coming up over the hood, he grinded to a halt. I gassed mine and tried to keep the trail going. It wasn't long and I too was totally buried. After a lot of digging and sweating we got all 3 of the snomo's turned around and we headed back to where Vinni was.

By the time we had got back, he was at the bottom of the slide with his sled running, sweet. So we promptly parked the sled and got ready to skin up. We cautiously skinned up the side of the path, with Kerns kicking ass and breaking trail the entire way. As we started to get close to timberline, we could tell the snowpack was quickly changing, for the worse. At about 7200 feet, we decided to call it good and dig a pit. The results from a Rustchblock test showed moderate to considerable danger with 18” break, pretty clean.

With our nerves wrapped tight, we stayed in trees for 400 feet then got into some thicker old growth trees. The snow was sun crusted in places, decent skiing but not what we had hoped for. With the sun starting to go down, we decided to head for the trucks. Unfortunately the road was still in rough shape. At about 9 miles, on a straight away, I was just passing a huge Ponderosa and I noticed I was falling off the sled. Next thing you know, I am rolling in the road and the sled is still going, ghostriding! I looked and saw that my handle bars had come of the snowmo.

I laughed but realized how lucky I had been. If that would have happened on a corner or in thick trees it could have been deadly. On closer inspection, the riser (that my buddy had homemade) had snapped clean off at the weld. Luckily we had enough tools and we were able to attach the handlebars sans riser back to the sled and ride out. Had burger and beers at the lodge; got home at about 800; rode 30 miles total

Lolo Pass 12-29-07

Sometimes things just work out perfectly. Storms had been pounding Western Montana and Idaho for the past few weeks. I called up Steve and suggested that we go make sure the snow was okay, we didn't want it to go unused.

Steve and I got up there at about 8:30am. At the parking lot the berms were huge and we picked up the old skin trail with about 8" of fresh. The snow quickly got deeper as we climbed. As we came up towards the bowl it was thigh deep breaking up on old skin track to the top of Pillows.

Snow was probably 6%, blower for Lolo. Carver was along for the ride and was doing well with his booties on. We skied from the very top down the gut and over to the right of it; There was probably 24” of new about thigh to waist deep; On the steeps it was coming up over your shoulders, face shots for sure; Then after that did one run on the mellow regen run and then we headed out; the lower trees below the road was really really good; Snowed hard on us all day long; temp was 20

Here's the video that I put together.

They have arrived!

Blessed with 2 newborns!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Hunting Season 2007

It was a great year even though I didn't get an elk. I was able to get out on some great days and see some animals. I missed the Antelope hunt, but my little twins were a much better prize. I nabbed a nice muley out near Drummond.

Here's my first deer! A respectable 4x3 mule deer. It was a great hunt and I took a clean 200 yard shot on him.

Ran into this old caddy parked out in the mountains. Look at her, she's a beaut!

My buddy got a huge elk this year down on the ranch. Scored ~ 330