October has seen some early season moisture and the mountains are shredable if you need your fix of the white stuff. Below are some words and Photos by: Mr. Patrick Orton. Thanks Patrick! Get after it and watch out for those sleepers underneath the fluff. -T.O.
Check out: www.patrickortonphotography.com to see more.
I had been hearing rumors of the local die hards skiing in the backcountry outside of Bozeman in early October. The thought of skiing seemed optimistic as I sat on my deck in Clyde Park drinking a beer in shorts and a t-shirt. We had only received one storm that lightly coated the three huge mountain ranges that surround my house.
This time of year is very challenging for a person who lives to ski. The white capped peaks tantalize me every time I look out the window. The ski porn gets me so pumped until I walk out the theater and realize Im not in a heli in Alaska. By the time October rolls around I am salivating in excitement and anticipation for snow. Skiing powder is a indescribable feeling that soon becomes a full on addiction. Deep steep powder is the specific reason I moved to Montana.
Somehow in my mind I have convinced myself that on the north aspects on October 12 I will find my fix. I have met up with two fellow powder addicts that have also transplanted to Montana in search of the legendary cold smoke. We leave the parking lot in two inches of snow and slowly begin or skin through rocks, fallen trees, and ravines. The wind is howling and the mountains look glorious and extremely rocky. The wind has deposited 2-3 feet of snow in select couloirs. When we left the valley it felt like a mild fall day but after reaching the summit if felt like we had entered the arctic.
As we stood on top of a couloir I am almost blown to the ground by a typhoon force gust. My legs are feeling weak looking down a choke through sharks teeth and hearing the roar of the wind in my ears. This was the moment I had been fantasizing about since my last day of skiing. As I charged into my first turns of the season I instantly felt the wild wave of excitement and adrenaline. The turns were soft and playful down the rocky chute. My stoke factor at this point was off the wall.
Being the photographer on a ski trip has its ups and downs. Carrying the heavy delicate camera equipment sucks, But I always get to choose where I shoot from which typically means I get first tracks. I set up my shot from the bottom of the chute I skied and yelled clear. My buddies ripped fast hard powder turns down exposed narrow chutes hooting and hollering all the way.
When we made it back to the cars everyone had shit eating grins from ear to ear. Its hard to complain when your skiing in October with good friends and no one else around. The snow was not waist deep, and it’s only early October. We have 6 more months to play with the white girl.
Now sitting back on my porch and drinking a beer and writing this after my first day of skiing, I feel very content knowing La Nina is back!
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