Turner Mt., MT, Feb. 28, 2021

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Turner Mt., MT, Feb. 28, 2021

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Mar 03, 2021 10:58 pm

The direct route from Schweitzer to Whitefish is mostly along Route 2 from Bonner’s Ferry to Kalispell. Libby is about halfway, and Turner Mt. has a 23 mile access road from Libby. Turner may be between the two major destinations of the interior Northwest, but it’s still 2+ hours drive from either and is a leading contender for most obscure area I’ve skied. It’s open just Fri-Sun, but you can rent the area privately on other days.

The access road is mostly straight and gradual, but the last 10 miles were snow covered and not well maintained with lots of ice and ruts. There’s one long switchback and you get an overview of the mountain with about 5 miles to go.
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Turner has just one chair but it’s 2,000 vertical with a consistent fall line. Primary exposure is southeast but it’s firmly in the Great Gray North winter weather zone as seen in all of the pictures. Snow varied more by elevation, with maybe the top 20% of the mountain in winter snow and becoming more springlike the lower you skied.

With the drive and an adverse time change we did not start skiing until 11AM. Groomed runs all skied well by then, even though some may have been groomed 2-3 days ago, not surprising with such low skier density.

Turner may have been the third area of this trip with a Bigfoot statue.
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After a first groomed run on Cabinet Avenue (the western boundary) we skied the nearly all ungroomed eastern boundary. Snow was decent on the upper part, Seventh Heaven.
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The access road is in the center of this picture.

The run takes a sharp turn halfway down to Far North, which also has a more direct south exposure.
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Even this was manageable for a while. There was a crusty section but fortunately that was short. The bottom Hole’s Hell was heavy spring snow.

Here’s Liz on Sundance Bowl on the upper mountain.
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All of the runs near the lift on either side were listed as groomed, but in these cases only a strip about 15 feet wide was groomed. At most places that strip would get chewed up and mogulled fast but not here. It makes sense here because the rest of these runs would preserve powder in colder weather and or weaker midwinter sun.

The runs far skier’s right, Cabinet Ave. and Pneumonia Ridge, had more traditional wide grooming.

There is a short section of maybe 500 vertical off the backside, where the several day old powder was lighter.
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It ends with a cat track to Cabinet Avenue.

Two of the chairs are decorated as Canadian and American flags.
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There is a fairly direct road from Libby to the border, so in normal years they get some customers from Canada.

We skied 18,100 vertical and left for Whitefish about 3:30. Turner was ski area #247 for me and #179 for Liz.
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Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
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Re: Turner Mt., MT, Feb. 28, 2021

Postby jamesdeluxe » Thu Mar 04, 2021 7:25 am

Tony Crocker wrote:a leading contender for most obscure area I’ve skied.

Which put it on my to-do list many years ago; however, I'm not sure I'll ever ski there given how out of the way it is. Of course, it's equipped with the requisite 1960s Riblet chair.
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Re: Turner Mt., MT, Feb. 28, 2021

Postby snowave » Fri Mar 05, 2021 1:28 pm

Even when I lived in NW Montana near Whitefish, people said half the challenge was just getting to that place (Turner). Looks a little better than I expected, TBH. I didn't realize it had ~2k ft vert. I have heard it can be great on a powder day, for obvious reasons.
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Re: Turner Mt., MT, Feb. 28, 2021

Postby q » Wed Apr 14, 2021 4:54 am

The one remaining place in Montana I have never skied.

Closest I got was maybe 10 years ago, was skiing at Blacktail and had a room booked in Libby for that night, checked on my laptop in the Blacktail lodge and found Turner had decided not to open the next day. Posted on Facebook that I had been denied. I then cancelled my hotel, drove back to Pburg and went for a beer in the Sunshine Station.

Switched on my laptop and found a message from my friend in Wales who had seen my FB post and seen a mutual friend from Whitefish's post saying that he was going to Turner the next day as they had rented the mountain. Mike messaged him and got a message back basically saying to tell me to pitch up the next morning, mention his name and I could ski all day!

Even by my standards and the fact i'd driven 6 hours already that day made me decide against it, a decision that I still kinda regret!
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