Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Lolo Pass and Crystal Amphitheatre

Posted By on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Ladies and Gentlemen, backcountry ski season is open for business.

In between grad school and keeping myself away from sharp objects, skiing has been on the forefront of my overly stressed little mind. Sunday's bluebird conditions on top of a week's worth of snow made it the perfect day to study a bit more of the white fluffy stuff instead of the heavily banal booky-stuff.

Emily skinning up Crystal Amphitheatre, beautiful conditions made this a great day for spotting other good lines in Lolo National Forest
  • Emily skinning up Crystal Amphitheatre, beautiful conditions made this a great day for spotting other good lines in Lolo National Forest

Despite his ornery face, Bodie is actually a pretty rad skiing buddy.  So is Emilys dog, Maggie -- shes the cute one.  This expression is just his way of saying give me some Snickers or youre going to pay later.  He sort of only has three food groups: boxed, bagged and canned. Im 85% sure he loves me even though I dont travel heavy on the junk food.
  • Despite his ornery face, Bodie is actually a pretty rad skiing buddy. So is Emily's dog, Maggie — she's the cute one. This expression is just his way of saying, "give me some Snickers or youre going to pay later." He sort of only has three food groups: boxed, bagged and canned. Im 85% sure he loves me even though I dont travel heavy on the junk food.

Because we got an early start on Sunday, we had properly cush powder conditions until about 11:30 when the sun started to turn our beautiful powder lines into gorilla snow. There were plenty of "whoops" and "yeeee's!" coming from our two larynxes.

Emily and our canine canyons make the first couple gorgeous turns down Crystal Amphitheatres open face.  Snow bliss.
  • Emily and our canine canyons make the first couple gorgeous turns down Crystal Amphitheatre's open face. Snow bliss.

The snow started to feel like concrete on our ski out. More than once, I had to stop and scrape the snow accumulation off the bottom of my skis. Falling over in the powder while balancing on one ski [to scrape] while your friend nearly pees in her pants laughing is only fun the first 2-3 times. I will never travel into the backcountry for spring-like conditions again without bringing rub-on wax.

Snow conditions were great up Lolo Pass and on Crystal. There was about .60m of powder and no definitive base, which left some rocks and deadwood exposed that had us traveling a bit more cautiously. Even though we stuck to relatively low-angle terrain and tree-skiing, the snow felt solid and had the makings to be a great base for the season.

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