After two days of ski touring, ski-bushwhacking and general outdoor behavior, I was almost glad to be in the office on this below zero day. On Saturday, I skied at Bacon Rind in Yellowstone Park with my friends, Jeannie and Dick. That place is a novelty in the Bozeman area: you can get out of your car and start hiking right up the slope you’re going to ski, instead of approaching for two hours before getting to the hill.
Then on Sunday, I went with a group of six into Hyalite Canyon’s alpine bowls. I’m usually vehemently against groups of more than five and am a pain in the ass about it.
Skiing up Hyalite was sweet though, because we thrashed and bushwhacked up a steep hillside for 90 minutes, and then busted into an amazing alpine basin.
We split our group of six up, and Jeannie, Pat and I dug a pit, then skied a north-facing couloir I’ve been looking at for six years (since I backpacked there as a trip leader for a bunch of teenage boys in 2005). We booted up the chute, which I have forever secretly called the Eight Ball, because it is near a tiny alpine pond shaped like an 8. That pond was the site of my all-time favorite swim–about chest deep and with a sandy bottom, the clear water was ‘warm’ in August when I swam there. Its outlet trickled from the rocky, tree line bench over a big cliff into another basin. This past weekend, the 8 pond was buried under four feet of snow.
As we booted up this chute I’ve dreamt of skiing for so long, we looked across the cirque and could see our friends Nick, Carly and Adam silhouetted on a ridgeline below another peak, with more mountains behind them. A storm was brewing, and we all topped out at around 10,000 feet, then switched shots, so we each got to ski two laps of wind-affect on different aspects.