Tuesday, March 8, 2011

another year older

yep, hit the big 51 yesterday, so did nothing special for this nothing special birthday. the skiing on the hill was only good on northern facing slopes, the rest, as best i could find, had been attacked by sun and warm temps. sure, i could have gone for a tour, but i actually had some job prospects to go thru, so i took a few runs in bounds, then got the dogs out to round meadows, which is in great shape, as are all nordic adventures right now.

after the epic turns in the canyon a week ago, this past weekend had given up lots of runs to powder hounds. the snow remained good, but to find an untouched line would take more time than we had, so our small group was happy to get what we could.

spent five days touring in the bitterroots, west of hamilton, out of the Downing Mountain Lodge. this old restaurants sits above 5000 feet, and offers slopes up to 8500 feet. high winds kept us off the biggest of the pitches early in the week, but there was great snow all over, so powder turns at lower elevations kept us more than happy. unfortunately this place is very rocky, and the slopes off the south and west sides of the high ridges are just so forboding in this regard, we avoided them for the second year in a row. these aspects seem to offer the biggest runs, but also put you into some potential traps. i believe these pitches really only open up in springtime corn.

our last couple of days allowed us to better explore the farther reaches, and on our final day, we really hit a nice big day, with multiple descents and lots of variety. also this year, compared to the paltry year of 2010, we were able to ski out the final run each day, and quite easily slide all the way to the cabin.

this lodge is worth a visit, as it is close, affordable and easy to get to, so bringing in tons of food and beer and other amenities is quite easy. but it is not really the place to go for people looking to max out on vertical and huge alpine expanses and big days. it is a place to get some fun and relaxing powder turns in, soak in the hot tub and crank up both the fire place and the wood burner.

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