This winter we made our 14th annual trip to Big Sky Resort. This year we connected with two Big Sky locals – Brad Biolo and Dan K. Over two storm days we toured all over Big Sky Resort finding deep powder and hidden lines that seemed to go on for miles. While we hoped for some sunshine we got nothing but blower powder. If its not going to be sunny it better be snowing. It snowed for almost 30 days strait at Big Sky and we were there during the middle of it! We wish we had more time to explore the largest skiing in America during our time at Big Sky. Enjoy the images and keep your eyes open, a few of these may pop up in some tourism and skiing related media. Thanks Dan, Brad, Big Sky Resort, 810 Mtn Crew, Mystery Ranch, Montana Ski Company and GlacierWorld.com photography.
I wanted to share these images of mine from skiing the past five days in the Canyon Creek area near Whitefish, Montana. They show the Skook Chutes before and after the avalanche on 2/25/2014. On Sunday 2/23/14 our group skinned up to the Skookoleel Peak and dug a pit in the first opening. Here are our ops from that Sunday.
We skied Banana Chute a few days before this avalanche and got the third shot shown below before the slide. Then today 2/26/2014 we skied Banana Chute a day after this slide to photograph the crown, run out and damage.
Please have all your gear, travel safe, dig a pit and read the avalanche report – http://www.flatheadavalanche.org
Lookers left of Skook Chutes from Banana Chute.
Looking direct at Skook Chutes from middle Banana Chute.
Looking direct at Skook Chutes from upper Banana Chute on Feb. 21, 2014 – 4 days before the slide seen in the above photo.
Debris pile and broken 9″ tree section. Deposit depth 6-10 feet wide spread. A groomer has been through since the slide
We got the call from TJ David saying he was going to be back in Montana for a few days via the train. We connected for two great days in the backcountry with friends David Steele & Greg Fortin of Glacier Adventure Guides. TJ and his Storm Cycles crew are rolling Amtrak from Chicago to Whistler, BC and hitting some ski spots along the way. This year’s crew was TJ David, Hayden Price, Whit Boucher, Thayne Rich, Caleb Brown and Trent Bona.
We made new friends and shooting was smooth – all the powder and pillows we could ask for. Keep following them on their adventures at http://amtrakseason.tumblr.com
This blog we have Brad Biolo from Big Sky, Montana giving his thoughts on the Powvember that has taken place in Whitefish and a few new gear reviews. Enjoy Craig’s images and what Brad has to say below.
It doesn’t happen every autumn, but sometimes the Whitefish range receives enough snow that we begin to experience “mid season” skiing conditions as soon as Thanksgiving. Let’s just say that 2013 was one of those falls. A mid November text I received from good friend and mountaineer Jason Keister sums up the stoke of the Flathead ski community, “skied powder today – so wonderful!” Oddly enough the resort doesn’t plan to spin their lifts til December 7th so only dedicated skiers and boarders with the motivation to hike the mountain were treated to these preseason powder days. After hearing tales of hero snow and that Glacier Park was good to go, I decided it was time for an extended vacation to my hometown of Whitefish. I connected with Glacierworld.com mastermind Craig Moore and the rest of the Whitefish Powder Ninjas for two weeks of hiking and and skiing, while Craig photo documented. We braved unseasonably frosty temps well below zero and broke in some new equipment from 810 Mountain Crew, Icelantic Skis, Montana Ski company, and The Wary avalanche pack.
810 Mountian Crew Jacket and Pants:
Pants Lightweight comfortable fabric kept me warm in subzero hiking temps. For having a baggy cut in the legs, the adjustable waist belt kept the pants from sagging. They stayed on my hips while hiking and were never uncomfortable. Stylish cut, blaze orange color is a good time. Well placed vents on inner and outer thigh and roomy pockets. Solid blend of backcountry function and mainstream ski fashion.Jacket. This jacket is ready for powder. Bomber velcro/plastic wrist closures and waist drawstring are a step up from designs I’ve seen on other jackets. I’m usually not a fan of inner powder shirts but i am impressed how this design does not creep up my torso as I hike and ski. The collar is tall and snug to keep the snow off your face out of the jacket. Also equipped with an adjustable removable helmet compatible hood.
The Wary Avipack 33L Backpack:
This was my first experience wearing a backpack equipped with an inflatable airbag flotation system. I am impressed by how much i did not notice the system as I put the pack through the daily rigors of touring. The release cord tucks away inside a small zipper pouch on a shoulder strap so its not in the way when not in use. The pack fits well and had plenty of space. There is a handy detachable sling that secures a helmet to the top of the pack. The clips that attach skis to the pack were easy to use and held the gear snug. The exterior compartment is designed specifically to lodge shovel, probe, and snowsaw. The main compartment is accessible from either exterior full wrapping zippers or from a unique zipping padded back panel that comes in handy when helmet and skis are attached to the pack. A smaller top exterior pocket had copious space to stash food, compass, pocket knife, ski straps, and any other helpful touring trinkets. The buckles and zippers have the most durable design that I have seen on any backpack. My only nitpick is that the felt lined interior goggle pocket does not have enough volume to house large framed goggles, which are currently popular both as a fashion statement and because they interface well with ski helmets.
Icelantic Skis Nomad RKR 181cm:
The Nomad has been my favorite board since I first rode them in 2008. Last winter Icelantic updated the model by adding subtle tip and tail rocker to compliment the camber stiffness and shape that allow the Nomad to ski fast and aggressive in all conditions. This was my first opportunity to put the new design to the test for myself and I had an incredible experience. Skis with rocker preform in powder, but it has been my experience that they tend chatter and struggle to hold and edge on firm snow. The Nomad has a reputation for versatility and I was skeptical that adding rocker would detract from this trait. This is a scenario where I am glad to be proved wrong. The Nomad is now more versatile then before with the ability to turn wind buff snow into surfy powder thanks to subtle rocker that keeps the tips floating in less then perfect snow. The tail rocker makes finishing one turn and beginning the next almost effortless. Critics of the Nomad who claim it takes a lot of work to stay on top of the the ski should give the RKR a second chance. I felt like the rocker was there when I needed it and unnoticeable when it was time to ski fast on hard pack. All untracked snow felt like powder and I never experienced tip chatter or tail wash out while skiing out Russ Street. The Nomad remains the most versatile ski in the game, a true quiver of one. Thank you Icelantic Skis Athlete Joe Turner for letting me borrow these skis.
Montana Ski Company Canyon Creek 185cm:
On one of our afternoon tours up the hill we linked up with Montana Ski Company founder, Zak Anderson. I figured it would be a good opportunity to give that ski brand a try; so we adjusted the bindings on Craig’s custom built 185cm Canyon Creek model boards, dug some old skins out of the gear bin that almost fit, and headed for the mountain. It was my first time on a true custom built board and I can see why one would make the investment. This ski was just my style. It was incredibly stable in the turn, inspiring confidence to ski aggressively. To compliment to the powerful and responsive camber which is customary of boutique skis, subtle tip/tail rocker and moderate side cut enabled the boards to easily initiate turns at speed. Playful and stiff, I enjoyed how easily these skis could change from long radius to short radius turns without losing speed. We stayed out till sunset “product testing” in the soft snow nestled in the perfectly spaced old growth forest underneath Chair 4.
I hope you enjoy Craig’s photos from the past early season outings.
Got a call from TJ David & Brody Leven with Skiing Magazine saying they were going to be in Northwest Montana’s Glacier Country and wanted to ski some backcountry. So we connected with our local friend Greg Fortin with Glacier Adventure Guides for a day of skiing in Glacier National Park. Below are some of my images from that day, we had wind gust over 50 mph knocking us over as we skinned and some dramatic clouds over head.
- TJ David rocking the Texas suitcase
Last month we connected with TJ David and Greg Ernst from Aspen, CO during their visit to Whitefish while on a press trip for Skiing Magazine. The morning fog burned off and it turned out to be a nice day to check out the resort. Enjoy the images.
Photos are all (C) Craig Moore/GlacierWorld.com 2013 All Rights Reserved.
The day started with a wicked sunrise.