Friday, May 11, 2012

Whitefish Mountain Resort

Posted By on Fri, May 11, 2012 at 4:00 AM

Location: Whitefish Mountain Resort

Leaning into light fluffy powder as I rounded a tree, I thought, “is this really the last day?”

While many skiers adorned colorful costumes, my friend Evan Moe and I took to the backcountry. We decided to hike Flower Point, but unfortunately the T-bar that gives you access to Flower Point was closed. So first we had to hike to the top of Bigfoot T-bar.

We stripped off our coats, hats and gloves and started hiking. Within minutes of starting, other hikers joined us on the trail despite the warm weather. The hike up the T-bar starts out on road and then heads up a run for the last bit. It’s not more than a 15-minute hike. At the top of Bigfoot T-bar we strapped into our snowboards and rode down to the hiking trail for Flower Point.

The hike up Flower is much the same; it starts out on a road and then heads straight up a run. The last bit is the steepest, and always the hardest. Sweat dripped from my forehead as Evan and I trudged up the last bit of the hike. We took in the view and chatted our fellow hikers up for a bit.

From the top of Flower Point a person can head in three directions; down Flower, into the canyon, or along the ridge to Ghoulie’s. The canyon is off the northeast side of Flower Point and offers skiers and riders a long steep run with plenty of powder. Many people don’t drop into the canyon because you have to hike out once you reach the bottom, but it is arguably the best run in Montana. Dropping the northwest side of Flower Point is simply called Flower and leads you down to the chairlift on the backside of Big Mountain. The run is shorter and not as steep as the canyon, but it’s well worth the hike when there’s fresh powder. The third option, Goulie’s, involves following the ridgeline to the south and then heading down steep open fields, wide-open tree sections and a river valley that leads down the front side of the mountain. Because of its southern exposure and warm weather, Goulie’s would have been a slush fest.

We decided to go down the Flower side of Flower Point where the north-facing slope protected the snow from the sun. We rode six inches of fluff as we headed down the open face at the top of Flower Point. Powder flew up behind us as we dug in, getting the most out of the few turns we had in the open field.

The run levels off a little bit and continues on in denser trees down to the chair lift. The powder was just deep enough to keep us off the crust and fluffy enough to make us forget it was the last day of the season. The run was tracked at the bottom half where other skiers and riders had traversed over from the run. We started sticking as soon as we hit the groomer, bringing us back to the reality that it really was the last day of the season.

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