What a difference a day makes! No wind, no fresh snow and heaps of sunshine. Headed east from Missoula along I-90, following the Clark Fork for another 100 km to St Regis as it drops 150 metres and continues to grow. From here it heads north from the Highway to empty into Lake Pend Oreille and eventually join up with the rest of the Columbia River. Meanwhile I did the climb up to Lookout Pass at almost full interstate speeds, and thanks to the marvels of crossing time zones, I was able to leave Missoula at 8, do the 90 minute drive and arrive just as lifts were starting to spin at 8.30! Some quite spectacular vistas along the road made the drive almost as enjoyable as the skiing
Having missed the chance for Boomers Friday when tickets are $30, so had to fork out the full seniors rate of $35 – still a pretty good bargain. Brilliant sunny morning and cover looked pretty good heading up chair 1. Headed over the back where groomers were very firm but still quite nice, did one run off both chairs there then back to the front side where went off piste onto the ungroomed front face – some nice softer snow interspersed with some crunchy spots.
Because the resort operates on Pacific time they were still on breakfast menu so got some pancakes. By the time I ventured back out there was a substantial lift queue – oh well, it is Saturday. Paired up with one of the mountain hosts and after 10 minutes of chatting we were finally heading back up. Tried another north facing run but it was steeper than the other and it was obvious that if the sun ever got to this side of the mountain it wouldn’t happen till much later in the day. Sides of some of the runs had a little bit of softer ungroomed in spots, and tried a few short ventures into the trees but they were pretty tight and snow was just stiff enough to have me a little cautious.
So pretty much stuck to the open areas after that but was all good fun – hard not to enjoy on such a nice day. Pick of the groomers was probably Rainbow Ridge on the Montana side and the second run down the ungroomed on the front side was enjoyable enough to encourage me to do one more run on the front through some more widely spaced trees – nice.
After about 3 hours figured I’d done enough to justify the huge expense of the lift ticket so back in the car and 30 seconds out of the car park you’re back on the interstate. Road surface now almost completely dry and did the trip back at pretty much full speed. Took advantage of the early finish to get some washing done and fill in the blanks accommodation wise for the last few days. With snow forecast for Targhee Sun nigght into Monday bought a ticket for Monday online last night – and now of course the forecast has downgraded yet again. Such is the life of a snowchaser! At least looks like Alta is due to pick up a nice freshen up Monday, so that could be the go for a ski Tuesday. At least until the next downgrade!