|Mark Hertenstein pauses on the Mizpah Ridge|
|Gordon Whirry on the ridge|
|Mark heading back up after making tele turns in Mizpah bowls|
My goodness, the snow has been wonderful.
Yes, it's been plenty cold, with temperatures dipping down to minus 15 in Great Falls in early November.
But, I can't remember the last time the snow was so good in the Little Belts.
In fact, it's been so good that Showdown Ski Area will open up two days after Thanksgiving, the first time it has done so in the past 20 years. The target date had been Dec. 8.
Usually there's no snow base so early, but this year there's a good base from a heavy, wet snow and there's great powder on top of it.
Since that mid-October ski trip into the Belts, I've returned three more times going to the Mizpah Bowls, the ridge extending east above Weatherwax Creek, and a quick-hit to the ski area itself.
The Mizpah ski yesterday was particularly satisfying.
It was a bluebird day with no particular winds on the ridgeline, and new powder.
The only problem were the numerous trees down over the trail, making the going slow.
But, we were treated sparkling snow (a bit of hoarfrost) and untracked powder.
While the wind was blowing in Great Falls and temperatures rising to the 40s, it didn't get above 20 degrees on this trip.
Our trip above Weatherwax was on a cloudy day and the winds howled. We went up the Deadman Road and returned down a ridgeline from Kings Hill Peak.