Day 13 Tue 18/12 Whitefish 5030m (38720 total)

Well just for a change it snowed again overnight. Reporting 6 inches for 24 hrs but not a lot new in town. Got talking to the guy next to me in the car park when I got up the hill and ended up doing the first 2 runs with him. Sensational first run as we did a long cruise across groomers interspersed with a few patches of powder and a lovely run down through fresh stuff at the bottom of chair 2. Maybe I should have struggled more in the fresh because for second run he decided to head for more interesting terrain! Started with another run down Inspiration and even though visibility was quite a bit better this morning, I still managed to go over an unseen bump and crash. Once I picked myself up he took me off into the trees starting with a little drop off. We were in Elephants Graveyard and while the snow was sensational it was a bit difficult. He then started to talk about dropping through some cliff bands and I started losing interest quickly, so we took the easier way down. After that I thought he better keep skiing on his own or I might not survive the morning.

Great skiing all day. The groomers were an almost perfect consistency and spent most of the day on them. Had an early lunch to make sure I could get some chilli – they’d run out when I got there yesterday – then had a couple of runs on the t-bar. Ths normally opens only on weekends and is very short even by Oz standards, but lots of fresh snow around so gave it a try but snow was wind packed and a little disappointing. I’d decided this was my last day here and didn’t want to go without a run down east rim face, and luckily when I got off the chair visibility was just good enough to do it. Once again snow was a little wind packed and not quite the perfect powder I had hoped for but still pretty good. However it did mean a third run down the endless runout road that runs on this side of the mountain lead to.

By now visibility had improved everywhere except near the summit where it had started snowing again. Headed down Toni Matt next then dropped into Ptarmigan Bowl which with a different aspect was holding much nicer snow. Would have liked to do this again but the legs were just about gone, so finished with pretty much the same as first run of the day and l kept going to the car park. Great way to finish up here.

One other critical task to do while here.  As well as hosting the source of the consistently finest coffee in the country – Montana Coffee Traders – this town also hosts the Great Northern Brewing Company, the makers of Wild Huckelberry Wheat Beer.  Picked up a six pack, determined to take better care of them than last trip when several did NOT survive a VERY cold night left in the car.  Knocked off the first of them while finalising plans for the last week of the trip.


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