Konnie and I drove to Whitefish, Montana for the Christmas weekend to meet up
with my sister, Kristy, her husband, Kevin, and their two pooches, Prairie and
River. Northwestern Montana, like most of the Pacific Northwest, has received
little in the way of snow. Big Mountain was reporting depths of 11 inches at
the base and 25 inches at the summit. Despite this and the $38 (discounted)
lift tickets Kristy, Kevin and I headed up to the mountain the day after
It was pretty warm in the valley (around freezing) and it was clearing so our
hopes for views increased. While Kristy and I got ready, Kevin went in to rent
tele equipment. At 10:00 we loaded on the Glacier Chaser Quad. Kristy, having
worked at Big Mountain in years past, directed us to Inspiration for a warm up.
The snow was fast and there was "ice" in spots. But, as always, there was some
nicer snow on the sides. When looking at the Big Face Bowl you could see how
they were lacking in snow. Although it wasn't patchy there was a lot of
Any who, we caravanned back down to the base with Kristy leading. Kristy, to my
surprise, had morphed into a "West Coast" skier. Like our sister, Rae-Anne, she
was a speed demon but you could tell Kristy had spent some time on the hill.
Her turns were smooth and she had really nice form. Kevin and I had our hands
full trying to keep up with her. Kevin, the poor bastard, had his work cut out
for him being on teles for the first time in two years. To his credit, he never
got down on himself, did quite well, and even enjoyed himself.
Next, we headed over to Chair #2 (Swift Creek) for some bomber runs. While
riding the lift, Kristy and I scoped out Lower Mully's for a little more of a
challenge. It was lacking in coverage and my few forays into the woods found
that the snow very heavy and hard to negotiate. Besides, we missed the turn to
get onto Lower Mully's.
We then headed back to the Glacier Chaser and hit the backside via Moe Mentum
and Goat Haunt.
This picture of Kristy on Goat Haunt shows that the backside has some pretty
good coverage on the main trail.
After taking the Big Creek Express Quad back to the summit, we headed down
Inspiration again. Kevin and I saw some fun stuff down the top of Langley so we
separated from Kristy.
Kristy and Kevin at the point where Kevin & I dropped into Langley. Behind them is Whitefish Lake and the Flathead Valley.
Langley was tough going and you really had to be aggressive through the heavy
snow. It was tough picking lines with all the shrubbery so Kevin and I decided
the best way was to "abuse" the shrubbery. The going was slow but we were
having fun and ended up getting a little off track. We had to take the Great
Northern Chair to get back to Toni Matt and the base. Kristy had to wait awhile
for us but we made it back to her before she took off again. That will teach
her to pass up fun in the woods! Ha!
Kevin taking a digger on Langley. You can see the shrubbery pretty well in this
After grabbing lunch at Mogul's, Kristy took us to the backside again to Grey
Wolf. The backside of Big Mountain is really stunning in its beauty. If there
had been another 3 feet it would have been fun to explore the woods.
As our day ended the sun came out in full force and we had a hard time leaving
as conditions were getting better. All in all it was a sweet day I must say.
Spending time with Kristy and Kevin on a beautiful day was really nice. The
conditions mattered little to me as I had such a great time with them!
Next ski day: perhaps Friday afternoon with my friend Doug Davis at Alpental.
Me at the Summit House (7,000 feet) with view of the Flathead Valley.