With a well maintained road that heads up to 3700ft, and popular, well-traveled trail to the alpine, this nest of terrain offers perfect pitches of glacier skiing. I knew this place was popular with the locals – the 20 cars and almost 50 people reminded me that ski touring is really becoming popular.
From the storm that rolled through Friday and Saturday I estimated two fresh feet of fallen snow would stick to the ground. The only variable would be the previous cover. Last year we hit up this area and the snow line was almost identical. Heliotrope Ridge really has a short season whereby the snowline has to be at an optimal enough level for you to drive to the trailhead. Once it’s below 1000m, you’re in for a seriously long slog, or you need a sled to get to the trail.
It may be early season, but we take these days very seriously. It was a 4:30am wakeup (thank you daylight savings time for still making it feel like 5:30am). A quick rip over the border to Glacier, and off we went, but not without the pre-requisite of filling up the gas tank and getting our tasty food at the Wake’n Bakery. This place rules with good coffee, great lunch time wraps, and lots of treats. Best of all it supports the locals for which we rely on to get to the goods!
This certainly wasn’t the most epic of days with cold smoke, and face shots, but rather filled with a long uphill and downhill hike, and smooth and silky turns with a lot of friendly people. The bluebird skies opened up and we could hardly stop staring at the massive monuments of rocks that stood before us. This was the kind of day where we just get excited to be outside, to start a new season on the snow.. and wasn’t at all bad enjoying the mountains with friends and smiles on our faces. Welcome to the 2013/2014 skis season!