Sunday, July 3, 2011

Summer Skiing @ Beartooth Pass 6/25 - 6/26/2011

This past weekend Matt Teuling, Jordan Scheremeta, and I drove from Boulder up to a really little ski area at the Wyoming Montana on Beartooth pass called Red Lodge International Ski and Snowboard Camp. Check out Matt's TR from our trip here. Immediately upon reaching Wyoming we encountered weather that looked like this:

I didn't think my tires were horrible until we hydroplaned on and off for the next 2 hours. Nothing like burning out on the highway going 75! Eventually we passed this very peculiar oil well located on top of a bluff, all my basic intuition tells me it would have made more sense to put the well at the bottom. Any explanations?

The drive from Boulder to Beartooth Pass is about 10 hours and due to our not particularly early departure and the fact that we had no idea where we were going to camp, stopped shortly after Cody in some beautiful and deserted national forest. An added bonus of this location was getting to watch an exciting lightning storm inside of a cloud. I tried to take some pictures of the lightning with some success, although I really struggled at getting the focus correct.

Our first camp site
Great morning views to the west as we headed towards the Beartooth Highway
Switchbacks galore!
A VERY swollen waterfall on Beartooth Pass
Driving up Beartooth Pass Saturday morning I was blown away by the terrain and snowpack. I have never been here before so I have no idea how much snow is normally up there, but o my god there was a lot of snow! It was also so different than Colorado, especially northern Colorado because there was snow everywhere and on all aspects, something you never see in the windswept northern Colorado mountains. In terms of terrain, it was so variable from really mellow fields and slopes to Indian Peaks Wilderness-esque rock face dominated terrain. You could spend years here skiing hike to lines, and if you brought a sled you could do some amazing sled access skiing.

 We arrived at the ski area around 10, signed up for the big mountain comp that was going on up there, and immediately got out to check out the ski area and inspect the venue. The ski area is located in a small steep cirque with cornice topped steep lines at the top that mellow out into the terrain park and groomer type terrain at the bottom. I think the total vertical is about 750'.

The comp ended up being a total of 2 runs with a combined score for both runs, and the added surprise of the terrain park at the bottom being included in the venue. I liked the combined run scoring method as it rewards consistency and punishes risky hucking, which is something I hate seeing in big mountain comps. However, I wasn't particularly stoked about having the park in the comp. I guess I just need to improve my park skiing!

In the end, Jordan put down 1 really good run and had his PX 18 binding explode on the other run. Matt put down a strong, fluid run on his first comp run ever, then had an extremely gnarly fall on his second run that he managed to catch on his helmet cam.

I ended up getting 4th, which I was pretty stoked about, and for the 1st time ever I remembered to turn my GoPro on before my comp run. My polarizing filter fell out making the footage very overexposed, but it was really helpful for me to review my runs to see what I can improve on. Doing big mountain comps this year has really been a learning experience for me, every time I feel like I identify some things to improve on. Reviewing my POV footage, I realized I am still hesitating a bit above the crux of my lines, which if I can improve on will really help my scoring. I can do this by better mentally preparing and planning for my whole run before dropping in.

A sundog
Matt on his first comp run

I can't remember this woman's name, but she was really good, I hope that she will be doing some of the comps this next winter.

So much snow!
The ski area closes at 2:30 everyday, which is nice since when combined with the long days this time of year, it allows for ample exploration at the end of the day.

Matt checks out a thundering waterfall
Sunset over Pilot and Index Peaks
More of the same 
While we setup camp and ate dinner, I shot a timelapse of this beautiful sunset. I'm pretty excited about how it turned out, feel like I'm starting to get the grasp of timelapses and I am looking forward to doing more!

I tried taking some pictures of our fire...
The second day the weather didn't really cooperate, with a mix of rain, snow, and fog. We skied some park, watched all the crazy good park rats throwing down and Matt and Jordan demoed basically the entire ON3P line.
The terrain park

Endless BC options #1
Endless BC options #2
Inbounds terrain #1
Inbounds terrain #2
Inbounds terrain #3
Overall, a great adventure with beautiful scenery, good skiing, and a big mountain comp! The ski area is really small here and 1 day skiing it is enough to ski all the terrain multiple times. However, there is soo much amazing looking backcountry, if I were to go back, I would maybe ski a day inbounds then tour for a day. Or build a roadgap...

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