Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye old year, 2007

It was cold enough on O'Brien Creek that Eric Newhouse's mustache froze

Eric enjoying great O'Brien powder

Wayne Phillips and Marilyn Schneider enjoy a romantic interlude on Silvercrest
The old year of 2007 went out with a couple of days of skiing in the Little Belt Mountains south of Great Falls.
I gave “skate-skiing” a try Sunday at Silvercrest Cross Country Ski Area and found out how clumsy and uncoordinated I could be.
The conditions were not ideal for my first try. The course had not been groomed and it had snowed several inches, making it difficult to get any kind of sustained glide, which is important to the technique.
I did have several good stretches where I put it all together and decided this would be something fun to do when the snow isn’t up to par in the backcountry.
On Monday, New Year’s Eve, I returned to the Neihart area with Eric Newhouse and we did the classic O’Brien Creek run, something I do with friends several times each season.
Some 4 inches of new snow had fallen overnight and it was snowing lightly throughout the 8-mile trip.
The new snow was on top of more than 2 feet of powder, much of it not packed down yet.
That meant we had quite a bit of snow breaking to do until we hit the creek bottom when we were overtaken by a strong, young man on telemark gear who seemed to be running on his skis. He appeared to be disappointed that we weren’t breaking trail for him. But, we enjoyed the work he would do for us for the rest of the trip.
The backcountry ski conditions in the Little Belts are ideal.

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