Who came up with this name? No self-respecting man or woman wants to call up a buddy and say “What do you think about hitting up the G-Spot today?” A better name, you ask? How about “Smugglers Crotch?" If you’re new to the area, lets promote this instead. If you’re a local, give it a shot. Maybe you’ll find that it has a nicer ring.

As for directions to “The Crotch”, there really isn’t a closer backcountry option for Missoulians. Head south out of town on U.S. Highway 93 and take a right on U.S. Highway 12 west. Continue on 12 like you’re going to Lolo Pass, but pull off on your right after approximately 30 miles. This is one of the only turn-offs to a logging road on the right, and there’s room for two to four cars in front of the gate. If you’re late getting going, there’s plenty of additional parking back downhill 100 yards or so on the other side of the highway.

You’ll want to skin up from here and plan for a hike to the that typically takes 30 minutes to one hour depending on what sort of shape you’re in. Unless you’re really early after a storm, or really hungry in the fall, there’s almost certain to be a skin track leading up from the gate. Follow this and watch your left for alternate tracks up the ridge. This is a steeper route, but will cut a significant amount of time off of your ascent. It’s worst for the first third and then mellows out for another third. The final third is what you came out for, 600 to 800 vertical feet of the good stuff.

From the top there are plenty of options to ski here with lots of little pillows to bounce off and plenty of slope to handle a crowd. The laps are short so you’ll get plenty of practice putting together your splitboard or dropping a knee with you skins tucked into your jacket. The only real bummer is that the runs aren’t long and that you’ll need to negotiate the nasty crust with thin baby trees near the bottom. Otherwise, this place is awesome.

As always, be careful to always check snow/avalanche conditions when you go out and pay close attention to the often wind-loaded final third of the ascent. You’ll have a great time here, especially if you don’t have to call it “the G-Spot” anymore.

Ross Peterson

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