Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring skiing in Glacier National Park

Katie at Three Bears Lake near Marias Pass

My favorite mountain, Rising Wolf at Two Med

Katie at our favorite photo site on Two Med Lake

Venturing out onto frozen Two Med Lake
My wife and I took advantage of a great "Groupon" coupon and spent the weekend at the Izaak Walton Inn in Essex and took advantage of some great backcountry skiing in Glacier National Park last weekend.
The Izaak Walton Inn where we stayed two nights.
I find myself amused by the folks who pay to ski the groomed Walton Inn trails on their skinny skis when less than a mile away there are scores of miles of backcountry just waiting to be skied.
We arrived in a snowstorm on Friday night and enjoyed a gourmet meal in the Inn's rustic restaurant, watching snowflakes feather to the ground outside the windows.
The wet snow was falling on about two feet of also wet snow that had fallen the past week.
I opted for drier snow at Marias Pass along the Autumn Creek trail between Marias and the Lubec turnout on Saturday and was quite satisfied.  It wasn't good enough for much tele turns, but great for old-fashioned kick and glide skiing.  It wasn't long before we were out of the track and into untracked snow beneath Little Dog and Summit peaks with great views south into the Badger Two Med country.
On Sunday a fog settled into the area and I was concerned that even the high country would be pretty crusted over.  Katie suggested we try out the Two Medicine Lake part of the park, and following that suggestion made our day.
Even though the area rises just a tad higher than East Glacier Park, it was high enough to get out of the gloom.
We had a full afternoon of bluebird skies, great snow and the area between the park boundary and Two Med Lake all to ourselves.
It was heavenly.
We picnicked at the lake and drank in the glorious, sunny day with fantastic views of some of my favorite mountains --- Rising Wolf, Lone Walker, Sinopah, Apistoki and Scenic Point.  The lake was very snow covered and I went out a ways, before my wife's better judgment prevailed and I turned around and came off.
It was hard to believe we had such a large part of this great national park to ourselves on this gorgeous day.
Although I haven't posted for two weeks, it wasn't that I hadn't been busy.
Helena and the Big Belt Mountains from atop Mount Helena.
I got to Helena and climbed Mount Helena as a tuneup for our weekend skiing trip.
The mountain was mostly clear of snow.  It's always worth the 1,200 feet of climbing to the top.  I did the climb in shirtsleeves, as the temperatures climbed into the 60s.
Over the weekend in Glacier temps were in the 20s to 40s.

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