Fun Prison

Recently I spent 2 days sled skiing in the paradise that is Cooke City. I got home late Sunday, repacked, slept a few hours, then headed to the other side of Yellowstone National Park to the Centennial Mountains to stay at the Hellroaring Powder Guides for 3 nights and 4 days.

The camp is in a wilderness study area so everything has to be packed in and out every winter without the help of motorized equipment. This makes for a unique spot which is well supplied but still primitive and provides a great wilderness experience (as long as you don’t cross into the snowmobile area a couple miles away).

My buddy Austin came up from Silverton with some snowmobiles and we headed to Cooke City for a couple days of sled assisted powder skiing.

Pilot and Index peaks from just below Daisy Pass. We had great weather and snow conditions in Cooke.

Took Dudley out for a ski to watch the sunrise over Cooke City on Sunday.

Then I met up with some friends in Bozeman and headed to the Montana/Idaho border to meet up with more friends from Jackson Hole. We snowmobiled about 10 miles then had another 3 mile hike to the camp. Once there we unpacked and headed into the hills to explore.

Leif scoping his line across the valley from camp.

We skied both the east and west sides of the creek the first two days trying the find pockets of soft snow (we did!). The third day we all headed out to make a summit push for nearby Mount Jefferson (10,208′).

Olly stoked on Mount Jefferson.

Bee stoked after a successful summit mission on the peak behind him. We still had 2000′ vert of good snow back to camp too.

On the last day, we decided that instead of taking the same trail back to the trailhead we would attempt to climb and ski Nemesis Mountain(9,449′). After a fun but circuitous ski tour, we topped out on a large avalanche path. With our heavy packs we opted to stop there and ski the avalanche path back to the valley. The summit would have to wait.

Pat Owen enjoying the last run of the trip, 2000′ vert of perfect corn.

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!


My younger brother visited from Kazakhstan for the holidays. I rallied down to Colorado for a couple of days to see him and ski Silverton. Sorry not many good pics as the conditions were marginal (dust on crust), but it was fun to get out and ski with my two brothers and my Old Man.

Classic downtown Silverton

My older brother Zack hiking towards Rope-Dee chute with the legendary Silverton Chair below.

As with any ski trip, late night re-fueling is standard.

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.

Out with the old and in with the new

Currently I am taking a brief break from the mountains to attend a workshop at the prestigious Harvard University. It certainly is interesting sitting in a room full of Harvard PhD’s and future Harvard PhD’s.

I was recently going through my website stats and besides closing in on 35,000 views (thanks everyone!) I have not updated any links on my webpage since its inception 4 years ago. So with that in mind check out a few new links I have added to the sidebar. I am also removing a few irrelevant (that sounds harsh) or old blog links as well (RIP Steve Romeo).

The new links include:
MT Splitski: A blog devoted to splitboarding in Southwest Montana and the Jackson Area.

Junkfunnel: This is an extremely handy site for any Bozeman based backcountry skier. Nicely formatted charts from various remote weather stations as well as new snowfall summaries. I particularly enjoy the temperature charts as you can get a good feel for diurnal temperature fluctuations (and thus the formation of facets) very easily.

Southwest Montana Avalanche Forecast: I don’t know how I missed this one.
Colorado Avalanche Information Center’s accident reports: This is a great resource for any backcountry rider, learn from other peoples mistakes so you don’t get flushed.

Sadly, I am removing the following links:
Oronaut: my friend Evan hasn’t updated it since 2009 so I figure it is time to stop sending people there.
Shawtann Outdoors: like Evan, Shawtann hasn’t updated this site since 2010.
Tales from the Mid-Country: Same as above, my friend Cisco hasn’t added any new content since 2010.
TetonAT: I hate removing this link but since Steve Romeo passed away last winter I don’t see a point in keeping it around.
The Road Before Us: A former coworker’s site, but their content doesn’t really jive with this site.
Aspen Snowmass: This was nice when I was traveling a lot to ski, but since I haven’t returned to my home mountain in 2 years or so, it is time to let it go.

Now, since we are done with some housekeeping, enjoy a few photos from the last few weeks of touring around the Bozeman area.

Milky skies in Beehive Basin.

Milky skies in Beehive Basin.

Former Backcountry Magazine editor Drew Pogge drops into a line in Beehive Basin.

Former Backcountry Magazine editor Drew Pogge drops into a line in Beehive Basin.

Drew Pogge

Drew Pogge

Attempting to get a little artsy up in Hyalite

Attempting to get a little artsy up in Hyalite

My older brother Zack popping a small pillow while exploring up Hyalite.

My older brother Zack popping a small pillow while exploring up Hyalite.

Zack practicing stabbing bears with his ski pole while carrying speed.

Zack practicing stabbing bears with his ski pole while carrying speed.