Lost Trail Powder Mountain, February 24th, 2002

We had our first major snowstorm in the past couple of weeks here in Montana, and this one was a bit strange compared to the normal pattern. Unlike the usual setup where the mountains grab all the snow, we actually got some pretty good accumulation in the Bitterroot Valley. I'd say there are about 6 or 7 inches here in Hamilton, the most we've seen since living here. It almost reminds me of Vermont!
I went to bed last night amidst pretty heavy snow at the house, and figured it must be dumping up at Lost Trail! Surprisingly, as we left Hamilton in a blizzard, the snow gradually lightened up as we headed south, and by the time we hit Lost Trail, it was brilliant sunshine! They only reported 4 inches of new snow overnight, and it didn't look like they were getting any more any time soon. We took a quick trip down to the base of lift 2, and found the reported 4 inches over a surprisingly firm base. Fortunately, we had brought the fat skis and they did a pretty good job of floating us in only 4 inches. We spent the next few runs off lift 2, hitting a few of the trails like Southern Comfort etc. that had a groomed surface below the powder. The turns were sweet, and we decided to avoid the bumps and other terrain since the powder didn't cover the old snow there as well. After a few runs on lift 2, we headed over to lift 3 for some more fresh powder, skipping the hike to the ridge and simply heading down to skier's left of the lift. On one of the steeper sections (there are a few of them off chair 3), I had my best turns of the day, where the slope just fell away with each turn and the powder was great. E enjoyed this section as well, although we both agreed on the next run that the trail next to the chair 3 liftline is not the way to head down; not many options for powder off the sides. We finished off the day at the top of chair 3 and hiked to the parking lot. As we headed home, we dropped out of the pass and into a blizzard. Driving was actually quite tough and we had to take it slow. The usual stop at the Sula store for Hot Chocolate was still made, amidst wind and driving snow. The snow continued all the way home and had totally covered everything in Hamilton. Almost like real winter!

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