Above all, try something. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Monday, May 31, 2010


The roots of my problem lie deep. It could be traced to my youth and the time we would spend at my fathers best friends house on the Sachem trail at Okemo. I remember lapping that rope tow at the bottom, and I remember getting my first set of ski poles from the lift operator there. It could be the times I had in college in Vermont at Castleton State with my best friends, skipping class and skiing powder at Killington, Pico, or road tripping to Mad River Glen or Jay Peak. After college I found myself looking West. I ended up in Utah and skiing at Alta. After a number of years skiing deep Alta powder, and if you've ever been there, that's exactly what it is, deep and consistent, I ended up in Montana. Here's a shot of Beehive Peak to get your attention. Correct me if I'm wrong about the name of the peak, I'm in the process of learning about this range every day. If you click on the photos, you can view them in a larger format.

I know its Memorial Day weekend, and I should have summer cookouts and shorts and sandals out. But this spring has been unbelievably wet and cold here in Montana. It's a shame that at this point, I have no idea where my Chaco's are. The peaks have been covered in snow and that gets my attention and thinking about skiing. Here's the peak I was heading for this afternoon:

Living and working on a huge chunk of land in the mountains is incredible. I still can't believe that we live here. There are a million things that are amazing about it, but one of them is the fact that I can drive pretty far up the mountain to access some skiing. I still have the option for a super long hiking day, but I can also be standing on a peak in a short period of time. I started hiking from the truck at about 5:00 PM. I had to gain about 3,000 feet. Looking at the peak it didn't seem that way, but once I started hiking I realized that the map was right. It was a steep hike and I'm feeling it today. Here's a shot I thought was cool of some trees that fell victim to beetles recently.

The hike started out in hiking boots. I stopped to take a self portrait next to this log with Lone Peak in the background. I can't remember ever hiking with skis and bear spray.

About half way up the climb I could put my skis on and climb using a binding setup that allows me to have a heel free, (without being a granola chucking hippy telemark skier), and put skins on the bottom of my skis which allow me to climb up and not slide backwards. This shot looked cool in black and white. Thats part of Lone Peak on the left, The Sphinx, Cedar Mountain, and Fan Mountain. Amazing:

I couldn't believe it but came up on this HUGE mule dear track very high up. This old boy must be a monster and they tend to love it up on these ridges. Even if it means post holing through a ton of snow. It was so cool and I came up on a small community of these monster bucks up here. I followed his track for a while, thinking he knew the most efficient route through this steep terrain.

I could've taken a million pictures once I started gaining elevation, and I took way more than I'm posting, but I can't bore you with everything that I get excited about. Here's a shadow self portrait:

I got to this point about 6:30 PM and and had to start thinking about my time it would take to get out of there. The sun has been going down a little after 9 PM. It would only take a few minutes to ski down, but I wasn't so sure how long it would take to hike through the forest back to my truck parked at the Moose Camp Cabin. I knew that I wouldn't have time to summit this peak, but could get pretty close. I decided to get to a point with some great skiing, instead of going to the top which would make me be up there for hours looking and playing around. I went up to the rock field you can see in the next photo.This shot is incredible and gets me so pumped to go back and ski it again:

It may sound wierd but for some reason, Josh Hardt was in the back of my head for most of this hike. His incredible need for adventure inspires a lot of people and I have been dying to share this place with one of my best friends. Hopefully someday the Hardt family can make it here. I love this next photo:

I got to the point where I wanted to get. Taking my skis off to remove my skins made me think about the first time skiing Tuckerman Ravine in New Hampshire. The steepness makes you wonder how you'll get your skis on. Once my skis are on I am completely relaxed. This is what I was about to ski. The conditions were absolutely perfect. Smooth corn snow. I decided to stay in the sun, just to the left of the shadow:

A photo can't really do justice for this view to be honest:

After some of the most fun turns of the year I took a few more photos:

And here's a final shot of Lone Peak. I am very excited that this is now our home ski area. I already have my season pass to ski here next winter.