Thursday, November 21, 2019

Great early season snow accumulating

The Forest Service was trying to burn this green slash pile

Empty slopes on great snow 
Wayne Phillips takes a break on the top of the ski hill

New snow flocked trees along our route

Reaching the Trailhead 747 

Fabulous backcountry skiing 
The snow continues to pile up in the mountains, promising a great backcountry ski season.
Great Divide Ski Area near Helena has already been open for two weeks.
The snow groomer has been busy on Showdown Ski Area in the Little Belts.
I took some turns on the Showdown hill Wednesday on the way with our Wayne's Wednesday Walks group on the 5+ miles Trail 747 loop that begins at Kings Hill Pass, climbs to the top of Porphyry Peak, and then down the back side of the mountain on back to the pass via the O'Brien Creek Trail.
Our seniors-laden group of four guys smoked the traverse in 3 hours and 20 minutes, even stopping for lunch and a break.
The snow had a nice, but somewhat icy base topped by 2-3 inches of fresh snow.
The temperature was 20 degrees and the sky, though overcast, opened up with some sun when we hit the top of Porphyry.  I thought it was darn cold when we stopped.
It was really great to have the entire, large area to ourselves, although on the way up Porphyry, we encountered Forest Service crews trying to set large slash piles, harvested from the ski area, on fire.  It didn't seem as though they were having much success with the green timber.
We were all heartened by the great snow and our trip.

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