Sunday February 23 - Lost Trail Powder Mountain, MT - 6 inches new snow
On Sunday, cold air finally came in, and we hit single digits in Hamilton. Lost Trail was reporting -2 F, and although it was nothing compared to what had gone on back home in Vermont during much of the winter, it was certainly one of the colder days for this season in Western Montana. James and I prepped ourselves for the cold and headed up to Lost Trail. Another 6 inches of snow had fallen overnight, so things were going to be even deeper than the previous day, especially where nobody had yet skied.
We first had a little fun on Moose Creek, but then headed over to Slides to get in some steeps. The skier's left of Slides was excellent, with nice powder. The temperature simply hovered around zero, so although things never got incredibly comfortable like the previous day, the powder had no chance of getting cooked. We took a couple of shots on Slides, worked on some video, and then we ran into Bruce and Derek.
The four of us decided to head over to Moose Creek and shoot some video. The lighting was excellent, since Moose Creek faced just the right direction for light behind the camera. We got in some good video before we split up with Derek and Bruce and headed for Chair 4.
Chair 4 had been closed much of the morning, supposedly due to problems with the cold. I'm not sure if it ever got above zero up there at 8,200', but they eventually solved whatever issue there was. For our first run, we wanted to explore even further to skier's left of the Hollywood Chutes that we had been skiing. We could see that there were some open patches in there, but we weren't sure how to get to them, or how they would ski. We began our expedition, and once we got into the trees, we found great relief from the biting wind that had been hounding us on the long chair ride. The snow was absolutely amazing, and oh so deep. The only problem was that it was too deep. Even though it was very light, it was difficult to move on low-angle terrain. We found some great shots, but many of them would be better with less snow (or at least less powder).
So, for our next run, we went back to the really steep terrain of the Hollywood Chutes we'd visited before. There were still areas that weren't even touched before this latest snow, and now they were going to be even better. I chose a steep shot along a spine to the right of the stuff we'd hit the previous day. All I know is that it was steep and often chest deep. I nailed the turns exactly where I had planned, and James got some excellent video. We finished off running into the open area below and decided to call it a day. They were soon going to be closing down Chair 4, and we had gotten a taste of the main mountain in the morning. All in all, James and I had wrapped things up pretty well for the trip.
The Web Movie of our Lost Trail Trips
One of the things we do here at J&E Productions is make movies, and we've made one from some of the video footage that we shot during our four days at Lost Trail Powder Mountain. All you need to do is make sure you've got the latest version of QuickTime, and you'll be able to watch the video. If you've got a fast internet connection, you can click on the movie and, a new window will open. After a few minutes of downloading, during which time you will only see the QuickTime symbol in the new window, the movie should open and you can play it with the QuickTime plugin associated with your browser. If you have a slower internet connection (such as a modem) it may take a couple of hours to download, and I recommend right clicking on the movie below and saving it to your hard drive. This method is also recommended for anyone that would like to save the movie for future viewing. If you need to download the latest version of the QuickTime player, you can do it by clicking on the QuickTime symbol to the left of the movie.
The movie is 4 min. 10 sec. in length, and its size is 26,213 kB.
If you move your mouse over the movie image, you can
get a preview of a few still shots from the movie.
If you enjoyed the movie, you may want to check out others at our web movie page.
This movie is also available through skimovies.com in association with First Tracks!! Online Ski Magazine. This version is somewhat smaller in size (~ 10 MB), is in realmedia format, and can be loaded as a streaming video if desired. Click on the RealOne icon if you need to download the player, or the First Tracks!! Icon to get to the skimovies.com movie selection page. Scroll down to find the Lost Trail video and choose if you'd like to stream or download.
On the way home, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to check out a wildlife viewing area that I'd always wanted to visit. In the town of Sula, the East Fork of the Bitterroot River follows a road down a wide drainage. Right on Route 93, there's a sign indicating that this is a wildlife viewing area, and word has it that you can often find something to see. Having James with me was the perfect opportunity to visit, since James loves animals, and apparently based on the luck we usually have in his presence, the animals love him too. The area did not disappoint. The new snow allowed us to see all kinds of tracks on the hillsides, and in the span of a few miles, we saw, Whitetail Deer, Mule Deer, Rocky Mountain Sheep, Elk, and even a moose standing in the road. It was a smorgasbord of viewing, without ever having to leave the car.
Monday - February 24
On Monday, I drove James to the airport to catch his 8:00 A.M. flight. Everything went smoothly, and I was able to watch an amazing sunrise on the Bitterroots on my drive home. The sun would first catch just the tips of the peaks and certain features, then gradually move down to fill lower regions and canyons. We were in the midst of our coldest snap of the season, with temperatures dipping to 0 F in Missoula, -5 in Hamilton, -35 in Butte, and -39 in West Yellowstone. On Tuesday, I heard a report of -49 at Wisdom, MT, and checked the info on the weather page to confirm it. That's only a couple of hours from here. I've never been in temperatures like that before. I bet it's close to where tires start to go square.
As I looked back on the epic journey that was our 2002-2003 ski trip, I realized that we had managed to catch an amazing week of skiing in Montana and Southern British Columbia. Not only had we caught it in a skier's sense, but we'd caught it for posterity with an amazing assortment of digital equipment that didn't even exist a decade ago. Hopefully it gave us the ability to share it with everyone else that wasn't there.
Back To Day 1
Back to J and E's ski page