Triple Creek Ranch guests rely on the Activity Team to help them plan Montana adventures both on and off ranch. This Team is the very best at what they do because on their days off, they are usually enjoying the same adventures!
The alarm clock blares on Thursday morning and for most it’s just another day, but for me, it’s Powder Thursday. Every winter I make sure to request Thursdays off to take advantage of this winter gift. Our ski hill, Lost Trail Powder Mountain, is a hidden gem located on the Idaho/Montana border about 35 minutes from Triple Creek Ranch. The mountain is closed Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays leaving fresh snow for those who make the trip when they open up on Thursday. We check the snow report daily and when that Thursday alarm finally goes off my phone says “8 inches of fresh powder has fallen the last three days.”
With immense excitement we throw our gear on, skis in the car and we’re out the door in a mad dash up to Lost Trail Pass, where we pull into an almost empty parking lot; a far different scene from the mad houses that are Aspen or Vail. We grab our lift tickets, strap up our boots and click into our skis. I can’t help but lower my goggles and look at the mountain in front of me as if I’m about to race in the Indy 500. This is my day to shine!
We charge toward the lift and ski right onto the chair which is the norm here at Lost Trail. In all my years on this hill I don’t think I’ve ever waited in line for more than two minutes on any lift. As the chair moves toward the peak of Big Hole Mountain, I take in the scenery around me. Here, skiers gaze upon the same view that Lewis and Clark did over 200 years ago as they passed through this area. The Corps of Discovery actually got a little turned around in this area, leading to its name – Lost Trail Pass. Though time separates us, I can’t help but harness the sense of adventure these early explores must have felt when they looked over these same mountains.
As we reach the top we bolt off the chair toward our favorite warm up run, the North Bowl on the Montana side. I stand at the top of the run barely able to contain myself. With “Bat out of Hell” by Meatloaf in my ear buds and fresh wax on my skis, I feel invincible. I charge down the hill doing my best to throw enough snow in the air to completely cover myself in the “cold smoke” only Rocky Mountain Champagne powder like this can create.
After putting in some great turns on the North Bowl we keep on flying down the mountain toward chair four, the place where champions are born. This side of the mountain is home to some of the best tree skiing in the country in my opinion. It’s a place that will make you question reality, as you can’t help but feel like you’re in a dream. Flying through the trees with powder so light it feels like angels picked you up by the armpits as you float down the mountain. We put in run after run until I finally have to put out the fire that is my legs with a beer at the lodge.
The lodge at Lost Trail is not glamorous by any means but I wouldn’t want it any other way. We walk through the door and feel at home. Instead of a bunch of people in a hurry it’s a scene made up of locals hanging out by the fireplace. I see the lady from the local grocery store and the man who cuts my hair. Life is just a bit simpler around these here parts.
As we put in our last few runs of the day we try to soak in just how lucky we are to live and work in a place like this. Even at 3pm we are still getting fresh lines on each run and feel as if we are the only people on the entire mountain. As the sun starts to sink low we take our last run of the day and ski right to the car through the parking lot. We pass folks at their cars with permanent smiles just like ours. As we load up the car we toast to the day we’ve had and to the hill that has been skiing great since ’38: Lost Trail Powder Mountain.
See Montana skiing through Wes’s eyes HERE.
Wes Johnes is the Assistant Activities Manager at Triple Creek Ranch, where guests enjoy complimentary transportation, lift tickets and equipment rentals to enjoy their own Powder Thursday!