Saturday, May 24, 2008

Memorial Weekend skiing

Mark Hertenstein applies Maxi-Glide to prevent snow from clumping under his skis

Tele down on Memorial Day!
It’s Memorial Day Weekend and most normal people think camping, hiking and road trips.
But….the high mountains above 7,000 feet have gotten a dump of new snow.
How could we pass that up?
We headed up to Showdown Ski Area in the Little Belt Mountains south of Great Falls and found fresh, if slushy but skiable snow. The area has been closed since the first week of April, but we’ve been skiing it hard since then as it has snowed repeatedly.
On the way to Showdown we encountered nothing more than rain until we got south of Neihart. Belt Creek is bank full and raging.
Even then there wasn’t much snow until we hit Kings Hill Pass (at about 7,400 feet).
The parking pullout at the pass was quite wet and full of slush.
We applied Maxi-Glide wax and plodded through some pretty heavy snow until we hit the bottom of the Golden Goose run.
There the snow was a bit thinner, and became better as we skied to the top of Porphyry Peak some 8,250 feet at the top of the ski area.
The heavy, wet snow was coming down pretty hard when we tried the Big Seven run down the east face of Porphyry. It was pretty fast on top and the snow became progressively heavier the lower we got. There was about 6 inches of new, heavy snow on top of ice. As we cut turns we sunk in and hit the ice, which sent us flying and holding on for dear life as we tried to regain our balance.
On the second and third runs we tried Quicksilver and found the snow much more consistent.
We got quite wet, but had a great time.
I’d like to say now I’ll put up my skis for the season….unless it dumps again!

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