In search of new terrain

en route to the Powder Highway

The journey from San Francisco, CA to the Powder Highway has begun. Word is, new terrain is open in Whitefish, MT, so a stop by Big Mountain is in order. To bypass difficult road conditions, we followed the route east of the Cascade Mountains. First stop, Weed California for a bite to eat. If you’ve never been here, Weed is a quaint town at the base of Mt. Shasta known as the gateway for backcountry excursions into the Shasta National Forest. Located in the center of Weed is a great restaurant called Asian-American Bar-B-Q. AA BBQJust outside of this restaurant is an old school BBQ grill that would fit more on the streets of Bangkok instead of a small town in Northern California. It has a “homey” feel, like your grandma’s house if it had a view of Mt Shasta and the smell of Asian Fusion BBQ lingering in the air. It’s a must stop. Once our stomachs were filled with great pork spare ribs and a tri-tip sandwich we headed back on the road.

After another 7 hours of driving we stopped for the night in Boardman, Oregon to catch some shuteye. Bright and early the next morning we were on the road again. Eagerness was building to get to Montana. With the roads clear and the sun breaking through the clouds the drive through the sage-brush covered landscape was pleasant. Just outside of Spokane, WA the hills gave way to large mountain peaks. A ski resort named Silver Mountain became visible. Continuing on, we headed over Lookout Pass, which is the border to Montana. It seemed that the snow was instantly whiter and deeper.

Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake

Heading north, the tree-covered mountains dissipated into large rolling snow-covered pastures filled with furry cows.  Having made this trip in the past we were almost there. Passing Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, meant it wouldn’t be much longer.

A short time later we rolled in to Whitefish. Seeing the snow covered peaks of Big Mountain in the distance made the 20 plus hour drive worth it.

Flower Point – The new addition

Whitefish is a resort that is best described how a Montana Resort should be. Wild…you can literally ski, snowboard, snowshoe or use any device of your choice anywhere. Uphill, downhill, side country or backcountry, anything goes! Nothing is off limits. The mountain’s layout has trees spaced wide enough so you can choose your adventure from the summit. More information about the resort is available here and here in a couple of our prior posts.

View at the top of the new Flower Point chairlift.

View at the top of the new Flower Point chairlift.

This year another chair to the North side of the mountain was added. Before this, the terrain was originally out of bounds and only accessible via backcountry. Hell Roaring Basin is known for its seriously steep glades. Flower Point is a good intermediate to expert run for anyone not ready for Hell Roaring Basin. The steeper terrain is accessible to rider’s right by entering the trees immediately after getting off the lift. For more mellow terrain head to rider’s left and follow the cat track until you feel comfortable dropping in. A word of caution when choosing your line…Don’t ride directly under the chair. You’ll end up in a dead-end ravine and depending on snow levels you could fall through and end up wet!

Flower Point steep terrain on the right.

Flower Point steeps on the right.

 

The upside, Flower Point’s terrain faces north. You can usually still find untracked powder stashes long after a storm. We discovered enough to ride all day until our legs burned! If there is a down-side, it’s the fact the lift is an old fixed-grip triple chair so it will take a while to get up. Relax and enjoy the scenery because it is definitely worth the wait. This stash is a great new addition for the resort. We highly recommend heading straight over once you reach the summit. These runs won’t disappoint!

 

 

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The journey continues…

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