|The best way to bring in a New Year|
|Trees flocked from the new snow|
|The view from the Kings Hill summit looking back at Showdown Ski Area|
After a call to my Mother in Chicago to wish her a happy 92nd birthday, I began plotting how to bring the New Year in properly with a backcountry ski.
I decided to head to the Kings Hill area when I found that it would be about 15 degrees ABOVE zero, while it wouldn't get to zero in Great Falls.
My plan was for a short ski ---- from Kings Hill Pass in the Little Belts to the top of Kings Hill mountain and its 8,009 feet summit, about a 650 feet climb of just over a mile up. I used the Deadman Road, skied across the top, and teled down the ridge back to the pass.
The snow was easy to handle because it had been hit by wind and settled, making trail-breaking no task at all. In fact, there was a wind crust in spots.
It was 21 degrees in Monarch and about 8 above at the Belt turnoff. As I neared where the old BarS restaurant was on the outskirts of Great Falls the temperature was minus 8 and stayed that way until I got home.
This has been a very cold Christmas stretch. But, man, has it been beautiful. Bright sunshine, sparkling snow. This was like a Christmas the way I remembered them 40 years ago.
|A young snowboarder shows me his "Powder Surfer" board that doesn't have bindings|