Today I hit Montana Snowbowl, a "little" MT place with 2600 vertical and 2 old slow double chairs with no bars.
(BTW, this site has great reviews of MT areas.)
I wasn't expecting much. Yesterday's storm fizzled leaving only a dusting in the valleys where it was 40 deg as I started up the access road. There were a couple inches at the area base, but all the skiers coming down were making noise - loud scraping noise. I overheard a conversation. "How was it?" '6" of fluff over variable.' "What kind of variable?" 'Anything from old icy crust to 30" of fluff.' My ears perked up. "Where is the 30"?" 'Paradise trees.' I went there of course and found the 6" and the crust but not the 30". It really wasn't bad up high and I debated whether to call it a powder day. But descending the fluff got thinner, the crust harder and noisier and it began to steepen alarmingly. I was alone and there were no tracks of others. I traversed out of there and returned to the lift on an ungroomed black run with lots of that crust.
Heading back up I was resigned to the end of my powder every day streak. But the skiers under the upper (Lavelle Creek) chair weren't making much noise and trees on both sides of the lift looked inviting. Bingo! Yesterday's snow had blown in deep in the trees on the west side of the mountain. The trees were perfectly spaced to keep the majority of western skiers away. No problem for this Mad River skier and for my rockered fat skis which are very quick. I did run after run and had a blast, quitting when the legs began to tire at 2:30. The streak of skip lunch powder days continues.
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