Montana Snowbowl, Mar. 3, 2021

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Montana Snowbowl, Mar. 3, 2021

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:16 pm

Our original plan for this week targeted Lost Trail for Thursday as it is closed Monday-Wednesday. However the last meaningful snow in the region was last Friday and this week was forecast sunny from Wednesday onwards. So I changed plan and opted for Montana Snowbowl on that first sunny day, hoping for good spring snow in its 2,600 vertical front side bowl. The weather forecast was accurate, resulting in SE faces softening by noon and other frontside by 2PM.

The Snow Park lift is new since 2012, mostly intermediate but low and WSW facing. Here’s why it’s called TV Mountain.
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After skiing the Sunset Strip and Evergreen Forest we returned to the base on the Second Thought cat track and Sunrise Bowl. The latter was in prime corn mode so we tried the similarly exposed 2,000 vertical Grizzly run which I remembered from late morning on my 2012 visit.

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However, leftover chunks from old powder softened slower, so we needed to stick to skier packed lines, unlike 2012 when the overall surfaces were smoother.

Next time up we went to the Lavelle lift, which faces WNW and still had some winter snow. View north from top of Lavelle:
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We skied the High Park and Hot Fudge groomers before our first venture into the front side bowl. East Bowl was the most popular and starts out mellow.
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But it soon rolls over to a steeper pitch here:
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We followed the majority of ski tracks traversing left from that pitch to Chicken Chute.
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Overview of East Bowl (upper left) and Chicken Chute (center) from Grizzly chair:
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View of Lavelle lift from Nutcracker, which we skied next:
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Then we skied the long Paradise groomer from top to bottom. View of Sunrise Bowl (left) and Grizzly (upper right) from lower Paradise:
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Every time we had been on the Grizzly lift, the only frontside skiers visible were on East Bowl (center of pic below).
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Finally at 2:30 we saw skiers in West Bowl (upper left).

So we decided to follow suit.
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Lower down we caught upto a local family.
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The little girl skiing West Bowl was all of 5 years old!

For our final lap we skied Mid Nut from Lavelle and finished with Longhorn.
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We skied until 3:45, drove to Philipsburg and stayed at the historic Kaiser Hotel. All the restaurants in town were closed Mon-Wed so we had dinner out on the road at Sunshine Station, barely getting in there before 7PM closing. I knew that many Montana ski areas run only 4-5 days per week, but that applies to some hotels and restaurants too.
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Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
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Re: Montana Snowbowl, Mar. 3, 2021

Postby ChrisC » Sun Mar 07, 2021 8:42 am

Tony Crocker wrote:Our original plan for this week targeted Lost Trail for Thursday as it is closed Monday-Wednesday. However the last meaningful snow in the region was last Friday and this week was forecast sunny from Wednesday onwards. So I changed plan and opted for Montana Snowbowl on that first sunny day, hoping for good spring snow in its 2,600 vertical front side bowl. The weather forecast was accurate, resulting in SE faces softening by noon and other frontside by 2PM.


Is Lost Trail worth it as a Spring skiing destination?

Also, a noon warmup seems late for a south-facing mountain. Did you avoid certain runs for a lack of skiing traffic?
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Re: Montana Snowbowl, Mar. 3, 2021

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Mar 07, 2021 7:14 pm

I would not recommend Lost Trail for spring skiing. The expansive chair 4 has a long flat runout and primary exposure is east. You are there for the powder, which can last several days in cold weather. The prior two times I was in Montana the week before Iron Blosam it was plenty cold and powder preserved well.

At Snowbowl the Grizzly run we skied at 11:30 was soft enough in terms of the underlying surface, but the chunks created when the snow was skied in powder took longer to soften. Therefore you needed to ski precisely to stay in skier packed lines.

East Bowl was the most popular frontside run so a wide swath had been cleared of those chunks. It skied well at 1PM.

West Bowl was more like Grizzly. We didn't see anyone on it until 2:30 and believe the locals know their mountain. When we followed them, the chunks were no longer firm so you could blast through them if necessary through the run was still more fluid in the skier packed line.

On my 2012 trip the prior storm had been windy so the ensuing surface was smoother and windbuffed. That kind of surface yields more uniform corn after a warmup as we see at Mammoth most of the time.

Western Montana is far west in the Mountain time zone, so sun time is possibly 45 minutes earlier than clock time. And next week that will become 1 hour and 45 minutes.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Location: Glendale, California

Re: Montana Snowbowl, Mar. 3, 2021

Postby stan » Tue Mar 16, 2021 7:26 am

Tony-

Let me know if you ever get back to Snowbowl. I patrol there and if I can break free for a run or two I can show you some of the hidden gems. Except for the cliff area and often the lower Grizzly chair lift line, pretty much everything within the boundary limits is open for public skiing. For instance, the front side of TV mountain, the side above the T-bar, is now open to the public, even though the skiing is currently more bushwhacking and cliff dodging than normal glade skiing. Next year that area should have been gladed out and become more skier-friendly. There are also tree runs between most of the named runs. The locals know them well, so most of the time you can follow tracks into the woods and get back out.
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