Monday, April 25, 2011

No lift, no problem

Posted By on Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 2:22 PM

Lift service at Snowbowl ended a week ago, but that's hardly an obstacle for Missoula's avid backcountry snow sliders. I took advantage of the great weather on Saturday, April 23 to check out the untracked slopes.

It snowed about 24 hours earlier, and after hearing from a Headwall contributor who'd been up there twice in the previous few days, I planned to look for some lingering powder in the trees near Far East. The skin up was glorious. Warm sun, blue sky, and only a couple of other folks on the route I took up Spartan Headwall from Sunrise. After an easy two-hour climb, I felt like a hero and had the top all to myself.

Showing some skin on top.

But the powder shots didn't materialize. The fresh snow had set up hard overnight, making for a tough, grinding descent. The smart folks waited until midday, when I was already back at my car, to start their skin up. The potential for afternoon corn looked good.

I'll be back, but never mind the early departure. Figure some yardwork, maybe the farmers market, and then a leisurely afternoon earning some turns on sun-softened, open terrain. There's plenty of snow, and the skiing should be fun for weeks.

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