Crossing the Border!

Dean and Heather had spotted some promising ski terrain south of Hebgen Lake, just across the border in southern Montana.

We had entertained the idea of skiing a new line in our own Lemhi Range but my scouting of that area on Wednesday found a lack of snow depth, making such an attempt infeasable at this time.  Snow reports from Montana made it a more practical choice!

We parked in a turn-out just east of  Hebgen Dam and skinned across the frozen lake, with Heather and I taking turns reassuring Dean that the ice was indeed thick enough to support us!

We worked our way up toward a ridge that lies west of Denny Creek, a drainage that empties into Hebgen Lake.

Skinning across the lake, we were under the clouds.  As we wound our way up, we went through and then above the cloud layer, with glorious sunshine spreading out over Idaho to our west and still obscuring Hebgen and Montana to our east!

We worked SW on our ridge, to an east facing bowl and drainage that feed into Denny Creek and started down from about 9300′.  We had nearly 2000′ of open glade skiing and then milked the lower drainage and a logging road to ski back down to the frozen shores of Hebgen Lake, at about 6500′.

We found 12 to 30″ of snow,mostly facets with a little newer snow on top and no slab in aspects we traversed.  Sunlit aspects were starting to warm as we headed down but shaded snow stayed soft and fluffy.

Dean and Heather skinning across Hebgen Lake

Emerging into the sunshine at about 8000'

Looking down our descent bowl to the clouds over Hebgen Lake

Dean finding the turns to his liking!

Nearing the finish of a great day in new territory!

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7 responses to “Crossing the Border!

  1. Nice! I needed that. We mountain biked up there a lot two summers ago. Careful where you dig your snowpit- might be sleeping bears!

    • I’m getting the feeling that some “private turf” is getting encroached upon here! It’s not our intent to despoil “your ” area, just sharing our experiences exploring our beautiful and skiable “neck of the woods”!

  2. This area has been a very low-key stash for years and years. Much of the terrain is to simplistic for today’s amped-out resort skier and such. I’ve spend numerous days solo and with groups gobbling up some beautiful snow. Mid-week, solo, and 10,000’+ days….thats the shit. Just plain ol’ powder skiing.

    We’ve all skied in areas such as Teton Pass and the Cottonwood Canyons and can attest to their greatness. But, the great thing about Northern Rockies BC is that you’re still lucky to cross tracks on most days. I think the only real problem would be your point by point description/directions aspect of the blog-post. This area is best left to one’s own imagination to discover.

    Good on you for reading some maps and being cognizant of good ski terrain. By the way, they are the Henry’s Lake Mountains.

  3. Andrew –
    Thanks for your comments. I enjoyed your thoughts about the style of terrain at Hebgen. Your thought about its simplistic terrain paints an accurate picture of its soulful characteristic. Thanks for that!

    If you find yourself down around these parts looking for partners or beta we’d welcome you or your questions with open arms. We have no need for secrecy or elitism in our community. We are not Jackson, Driggs, Bozeman, Sun Valley… etc; we do not label ourselves based on where we live. We love the mountains, we love making friends and we love sharing the mountains with our friends.

    Best Regards from EIOP.

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