Given the amount of time i spend around Kelly’s, obviously it is easy for me to say i really like the ski touring opportunities on and around Kelly Mountain in the western Big Holes. What it lacks in luster, glamour, and massive vertical relief, it makes up for in character and a bit of soul. Not to mention it’s less than fifteen minutes from my front door!
Kelly Mountain is home to our local ski hill Kelly Canyon Ski Resort and the well used and maintained Kelly Canyon Nordic Area. The KCNA includes 20 miles of cross-country ski trails, 17 miles of snowshoe trails and many areas for backcountry travel. For ski touring, Norm’s Hill is the most known destination although it generally see’s light traffic even in the best of snow conditions. At the base of Norm’s Hill sits the IFSC Kelly Mountain Hut which includes a wood burning stove, firewood, and a few bunks for overnight use.
Norm’s Hill is a nice intermediate gladed slope; much of it facing north and northeast. Not having a lot of skier vert, Norm’s is an ideal place to put in an up-track and do a lot of laps. With the hut at the base of the hill, it’s easy to do a few laps then kick back and have lunch next to the warmth of the wood burning stove!
A nice circuit includes riding the ski lift to the top of the resort and then following the Kelly Ridge Trail for 1.2 miles to the true summit of Kelly Mountain. From the summit, Norm’s Hill drops below to the northeast. After doing a few laps and having lunch, you can follow the Upper Hut Trail back to an in-bounds ski run known as Crystal Cruise and then shortly after, reaching the top of lift 4 before skiing back to the lodge for an afternoon of lift served terrain.
So many fun adventures in the ol’ backyard!
~ Dean Lords