Early winter

Winter has been off to an interesting start this year. We had some good snow before Thanksgiving but then the dreaded basal facets appeared. This persistent weak layer has relegated me to sticking to low angle pow. Despite the frustrating snowpack I have had some good days meadow skipping with the dog and showing my cousin-in-law what is up with the backcountry scene in SW Montana.

Heading out for some exploration in the Northern Bridgers

Dudley Dog scoping the views from an early morning tour in the Northern Gallatin Mountains.

Cousin-in-law Tommy finding some good snow up at Bridger Bowl.

Tommy on the approach in the Northern Bridgers

Tommy reaping the benefits of all the hard work backcountry skiing requires

Dudley and his pal Weebo on the march in the Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains

View of the Southern Gallatin Mountains in Yellowstone National Park

Tommy avoiding stumps above Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park

This curious coyote was very interested in what we were doing.

Mission accomplished!

Winter is here!

It has been a cold start to the winter, but Ullr made up for the -20 degree temperatures by dropping 26″ of cold smoke at Bridger Bowl.

Unidentified skier enjoying first tracks down Schlassman’s

Perhaps it was worth waiting all morning for Schlassman’s to open?

2012-2013 Ski Season Edit

I know, I know, the ski season is far from over and for me it is really just beginning as the steeps stabilize and access roads melt out. Nonetheless, I figure I should share the footage I collected over the winter in addition to telling the story of how I blew my knee out over a year ago with everyone. So enjoy some helmet cam footage of powder skiing in Southwest Montana.

Music by David Bowie (duh!)

We interrupt this broadcast…

I figured that this is a ski website and all I have done is post tropical pictures. Well, I have been skiing and here is proof.

Last weekend up on Hollywood Wall in Frasier Basin.

A few photos from December (and technically New Years day)

Here are few photos from a couple of tours in the Bozeman/Big Sky area over the last month. Snow has been pretty good though a recent dry spell starting to show its wear on the snowpack.

I have been exploring a little bit up Hyalite, where the snow is good on certain aspects but pretty rotten everywhere else.

East Face, Mount Blackmore

East Face, Mount Blackmore

Evan Johnson skiing some low angle pow

Evan Johnson skiing some low angle pow

I also had an early New Years morning mission with Patrick up Middle Basin above Big Sky. Best snow of the season for sure and the terrain is looking nicely filled in.

Sunrise in Middle Basin above Big Sky

Sunrise in Middle Basin above Big Sky

Patrick Lawrence airing a cornice in Middle Basin

Patrick Lawrence airing a cornice in Middle Basin

Touring on the Beehive Ridge

Touring on the Beehive Ridge

A Great Big Circle

After a bit of a hiatus from the blogging world due to another (yes, another) interstate move, I find myself back to where it all sort of started…Bozeman. What I thought was going to be my next big life journey turned out to be nothing more than a two year extended working-vacation. I quit my job in California and packed up and moved to Montana with a great job offer at the Yellowstone Ecological Research Center as a remote sensing/GIS analyst.

This is great news for this site though. Being back in Bozeman means I have my old ski partners back which means more epic adventures! I have already braved the low snow pack and had a couple fun days since moving back.

Simon Peterson on the approach

Nearing the top of "The Sleeping Giant". Photo: Simon Peterson

Patrick Lawrence and Luke climbing a wind scoured couloir

My brother Zack climbing a Couloir up Hyalite Canyon outside of Bozeman, MT

Zack sending it up Hyalite Canyon

And of course I have a GoPro edit of all this fun stuff. Check it out!

Music by CCR and shot in California and Montana.

California Springtime

Checking in from Northern California and besides being mega-busy with work I have been trying to get out. I have done some skiing on the nearby volcanoes of Lassen Peak and Mt. Shasta. Since I live at a low elevation here in California I am also able get out mountain biking fairly often. Check out this video to get a taste of what my life is like in California (when I’m not at work…).

Thanks Colorado, it was short

As I alluded to in my previous post I recently moved from sparsely populated western Colorado, to a “small” Northern California city named Redding. I moved here because of a job opportunity but there are plenty of fun recreational options, including fly fishing within a 5 minute bike ride, mountain biking from town, 2 cascade volcanoes within an 1 1/2 hour drive, and Squallywood a weekend trip away.

Gunnison was fun, but it was a little too small, and a lack of employment options left my fiance and I a little stranded. I had a great couple of months living the ski bum’s life collecting unemployment as documented in previous videos. So, without further adieu, here is my perspective of January 2011, my last month in Colorado.

Music: Lightsonic, by Groove Armada

Welcome to Weekend Warriordom

Mt. Shasta (14,179 feet), the second tallest Cascade Volcano... now in my backyard!

February was one wild month… I don’t think I have ever had anything so intense and difficult to plan. I was unemployed from right before Thanksgiving thru January and throughout that time I sent out nearly 100 job applications. For most of December and the first part of January I was living the ski bum’s dream. No job, a free ski pass, and a steady stream of Ramen noodles let me ski to my hearts content… until rent was due. Then I couldn’t afford gas to get to the ski area, I needed a job… and fast. I started looking in the Denver area and quickly got a job at The Wilderness Exchange and not two hours after accepting that position I got a call from California. A real job, performing work I spent seven years at school for, I couldn’t pass it up. I called The Wilderness Exchange, had a week to move out and drive three days in a moving truck to Northern California.

My new place of residency is Redding, CA, tucked in at the very northern end of the Central Valley. This town is much bigger than anywhere I have ever lived and I’m adjusting. Luckily there are plenty of recreational opportunities here, fly fishing, hiking, and mountain biking are all within 20 minutes of town. There are also some epic backcountry ski zones within 2 hrs including two Cascade Volcanos.

This weekend I finally got out and skied the epic backcountry skiing on nearby Mount Shasta (14, 179).

The Trinity Alps, my new hometown is nestled at the foothills of these mountains.

Mount Shasta in the mist

On Saturday and Sunday (My new job is a good ol’ 9 to 5’er) I skinned up what is locally known as Green Butte, to get oriented and check the options out. On Saturday the weather was beautiful just until I hit treeline. Then Mt. Shasta’s quickly changing weather put me into a thick fog and I had to ski blindly down to treeline where I spent the rest of the day playing on a natural log jib I found.

Some of the potential skiing terrain on the flanks of Mt. Shasta.

The Trinity Alps in the distance

Sunday’s weather was bluebird and nice out, it was a little breezy and wind loading kept me below treeline. The nice weather however, let me check out the mountaineering potential of the mountain. There are certainly some stout lines to ski that are European in scale. I’m definitely stoked to ski on the upper mountain.

Looking up Avalanche Gulch, it is difficult to grasp the scale of this mountain but I am 5000' feet below the summit.

Touring around the base of Mt. Shasta

Mt. Shasta from the Bunny Flat parking lot.

Silverton PowCAM Edit

Alright, alright! Getting a heavy dose of the POV cam these days, but why not? With the great skiing in December it seems appropriate. In addition to my previous post, December also included the family ritual of shredding Silverton Mountain Resort after Christmas. This was my family’s fourth year together down in the San Juan mountains, and needless to say it was by far the best year.

So without further adieu, here is my latest installment of too much POV footage (and for those of you at work watching, this is a much shorter video than my last one).

Music by the one and only Dire Straits, with cameos by fellow cross-poster Jon Jay and older brother Zack Jay. Mad props to my old man, Howard Jay, for keeping up with us and making the trip happen every year. Also, thanks to Bent Gate Mountaineering for letting us try out next year’s (that’s right, 2012) Black Diamond Gigawatts, which appear in a couple of the clips.