This past weekend Mike Records, Jordan Schremeta and I made the trip from central Colorado to investigate Beartooth Pass near the Montana/Wyoming. Over the years I have heard a lot of talk about Beartooth pass, much of which came from friends who recall fondly upon skiing there way back in the day. So when the idea was being tossed around, I was more than happy to make the trip. We decided to check out the Beartooth Summer Session and ON3P demo, and this is how it went.
I left around 10:30am on Friday to meet up with Jordan and Mike at their house in Boulder. (pictured here riding the sinclair dinosaur)
(Only because i asked)
Mike was nice enough to offer up his car, Sherman, for the trip. Laden with a ski rack, a rocket box, and a trunk full of gear, we took off from his house. After a failed attempt at grabbing some lunch, and some odd lunchtime traffic, we were officially on our way on the better side of 1 pm.
Mostly Unloaded Sherman
After Mike and I had driven for a while, including a stretch through a relatively severe storm just on the other side of the Colorado/Wyoming border, and after coming uncomfortably close to running out of gas, (never underestimate the distance between gas stations in Wyoming) We made it to the small town of Shashone, where Jordan took over at the wheel. However, less than 30 seconds into his driving shift, Jordan managed to earn himself a ticket for 15 over in a 30mph zone. Despite making friendly conversation, the lady cop showed no mercy and wrote him for the full offense. Ouch.
The next few hours of the drive concluded without incident in the town of Cody, where we indulged in an overpriced (but in my opinion delicious) Chinese food buffet. While at the buffet, one of the staff was kind enough to give us some incredibly detailed, although mildly misleading information about good places to camp.
It was a good start though. We found a suitable campsite somewhere along highway 296, about an hour shy of Beartooth pass and decided to camp there for the night. The sun set about an hour later than we were used to in Colorado, giving us nearly enough time to set up camp before dark, but not quite. After spending a short amount of time proving to myself that I am inept at setting up a tent, especially in the dark, I stood back and held the flashlight instead.
That night we were fortunate to have chosen a campsite overlooking the storm that had settled over the city below. Mike seized the opportunity and immediately set out to "get the shot" and get the shot he did.
Thanks to Mike Records for the photo! (Mike also has a lot of sweet shots, interesting TRs, and other ski-type things on his blog here- http://powdergucci.blogspot.com/ definitely worth a look!)
The next morning we were greeted with chilly temperatures, low-hanging clouds, and a thorough coating of dew; providing me with an excellent reason to climb into my ski gear a few hours early. Before we left i smashed down a bagel while master chef Jordan whipped up some eggs and sausage on the camping stove. Soon after we were on our way to Beartooth pass.
Although I'm not typically the sight-seeing type, Beartooth pass certainly has some amazing sights... to be seen. Like this mountain:
Photo Credit Mike Records
and this waterfall:
More photos to come later
and this chipmunk:
Okay, not so much the chipmunk as the other two
Eventually we made it up to the area and after a brief conversation with the friendly people in the ticket-trailer, we were skiing by 10. The area had two surface lifts, The lower one provided easy park laps, while the upper provided easy steeps laps. It was odd for me though, because you could ski down into the area, and had the ride the lifts to get back out. Not unheard of, but definitely something i wasn't familiar with.
Mike, Jordan and I decided to sign up for the big mountain competition that same day, and had time for a couple laps before the meeting. After that, we had time for a couple more laps to inspect the venue before the competition got underway.
The competition was a jam format, with competitors making as many laps as possible until the competition was called at around 1. Extra points were awarded to competitors who showed a little skill in the terrain park at the bottom of the venue. Having never entered a big mountain competition before, the laid back format, although odd, certainly served to ease some of my anxiety, and, as i had hoped, the competition was really fun, despite rolling most of the way down my second run.
My second run
Due to time constraints, the competition had to be limited to two runs, judged by the best combined score. I learned that awards would be held at 2:30, so I used the in-between time to demo some ON3Ps. At the "Demo Area" at the bottom I was greeted by Sam Caylor and Kip Kirol, who set me up with some 181 wrenegades. He explained the benefits of the new rocker profile and sharknose tip, and the difference was definitely notable compared to the 191 wrenegades i had last year.
At around 2:30 we headed to the top for awards. The top ten skiers were announced, with the top 5 receiving prizes. Mike laid down two solid runs that landed him in 4th place. Jordan managed to break a heel piece his first run, and after a quick ski swap, laid down a very solid second run. Also worth noting, was the award for "Scare of the Day" which was awarded to Kevin Bibler, who remained relatively unscathed after his tumble through the main portion of rocks to the skiers right of the venue. As an added bonus, everyone who didn't receive a prize was allowed to select one or two prizes for themselves out of a box of goodies. Gladly, I obliged and grabbed my self some sweet Uni Thread Shades and the TSP movie "Come Find Us." I was able to leave completely content.
On the way back to our new undecided campsite, we took the time to get a closer look at that waterfall i posted earlier, and here is what i came up with.
Soon after we headed further down beartooth pass to find a suitable camping site below the "snow line." This time we arrived with plenty of light to spare and decided to make a little fire.
Firemaster Jordo looking very silhouette-y
I also took pictures of some clouds
The next morning we packed up all of our gear and headed back up the pass, this time arriving closer to 9. After seeing some of the insane stuff going down on the big jump the day before, I gladly opted to play the role of spectator for the park comp. Plus, it gave me a full day to demo as much of the ON3P fleet as I could get my hands on. Throughout the course of the day I demo'd 181 Filthy Rich, 191 caylors, and then finished the day on the 186 Jeffry. All three were fun, but i was especially impressed with the Filthy Rich and Jeffry. Two very, very fun skis.
Me on The Filthy Rich
Jordan also took advantage of the free demos over the course of the weekend, demoing a 191 wren, 191 caylor, and 193 Cease and desist.
Even with the park comp in the middle, there was still plenty of time on either side of the comp to poke around in the park.
Mike getting upside-down
After many hours of skiing and watching some really good skiers... be really good at skiing... It was time for us to leave.
We headed down the side of the pass we had not yet been on, leading into Red Lodge Montana. Our original plan was to head most of the way back, camp one more night, then finish off the drive in the morning. We instead decided to finish of the drive that night.
The drive back was (fortunately?) less eventful than the drive up. Sitting in the back seat for most of the trip, I had plenty of time to take pictures of random stuff, and I got to test out the panorama feature of my camera. Enjoy.
Tacos at Sunset
Racing the predicted arrival time on the GPS, we got back to Boulder right around midnight. After I had loaded all of my stuff into my car, I hopped in to finish the last hour of my trip.
However... I soon discovered that my rear driver's side tire had decided to flatten itself over the weekend. With this new information, and my lack of ambition concerning changing a tire after midnight, Mike and Jordan were kind enough to lend me their futon for the night.
In the morning I put the sweet looking spare on my car and i was finally able to go home.
All in all, it was a really fun trip and I'm glad I went. Got to see some cool things, meet some cool people,and the skiing was pretty sweet too. Thanks to Mike, Jordan, the ON3P guys, and of course, Red Lodge (and many others, I'm sure) for making it happen. If anyone is considering going next year, go for it. It'll be fun. Thanks for reading!