Me below the lookout tower.

 

 

 

 

 

THE DETAILS

King's Hill, MT

Sunday, December 11, 1993

Began cross country skiing from the King's Hill Pass parking lot where there was about 18 inches of snow.

The day was sunny and about 30 degrees, although clouds came in and the winds picked up later in the afternoon.

I took the trail to Porphyry Peak, the top of Showdown Ski area. I only had to herringbone ski once in the hour it took me to get to the top.

At the top I climbed up the lookout tower although the very top was locked.

It took me 15 minutes to get down. I only had to fall once to control my speed. Worked up a good sweat and had a good time.

 

Sunday, January 16, 1994

Went up Showdown again but took the trail to O'Brien Creek instead.

The snow was just great and a few people had broke the trail so it was easy going. Bitter cold, though, about zero degrees and a stiff wind.

Followed the trail through an area which had once been logged but was growing back. The trail was quite narrow at times, but a mountain bike could handle it.

Only followed the trail to where it met O'Brien Creek, which took about an hour and looks to be at least three miles. The trail continues to Niehart and I imagine it would be a nice downhill nearly all the way. Many people were doing it, including Roland from Walker Graphics along with two women.

Several other trails crossed my trail, at least one of which led to Silver Crest.

 

Saturday, December 31, 1994

This time I skied the hills to the east side of the highway with Redwood. We stuck to the snowmobile trails, but still saw other skiers.

It was the first time skiing with him. He kept getting ice stuck in his paws and would have to stop every so often to lick them clean

At the top of the hill, I noticed the toe of my right boot had split apart. Afraid that the boot would totally fall apart, I headed back sooner than I would have liked.

It was a riot speeding down the long hill. Redwood was running ahead of me and I would race up behind him and yell at him to speed up. He would take off down the hill until I could catch up again.

About 28 inches of snow with high around 13° today.

 

Sunday, January 8, 1994

Bought a pair of used boots from Bighorn to keep skiing for the winter. The new high-tech ski packages aren't too expensive so I may change next year.

Also got Redwood some dog booties. At first, he walked like he had frying pans attached to his feet. But he soon took to them and acted normal.

We skied up Jefferson Creek, which is just past Memorial Falls. Went up the road 2.5 to 3 miles before turning back.

Saw two other groups of skiers and three sled dog teams.

The trail was really good for both Redwood and I. It doesn't look like any snowmobilers use this trail - just skiers and dogs.

The views aren't too good; the hillsides are nearby so you feel boxed in. Going in, the trail was a very gradual uphill. On the way back down I could sustain some speed.

Warm weather today - probably above freezing. Of course with that came the winds.

 

Sunday, March 5, 1995

After breaking a ski on my last backpacking trip, I demoed some telemark skis in the fresh powder of Kings Hill.

Took Redwood up to Deadman's Ridge and skied up and down the bowl there a few times.

Saw several snowmobilers zoom up the bowl. Not many made it and one guy crashed big time. He and his snowmobile tumbled all the way to the bottom of the bowl. He wasn't hurt, but his snowmobile was.

The skis I used were the waxable kind and I didn't have the wax right so I had no traction going uphill. Later, I learned that the temperature up here was much warmer than in town. Going down was a blast.

After getting tired here I went across the road to Showdown and used their poma lift for free.

 

Saturday, March 11, 1995

Tried out my new telemark skis. For the first time, I followed the Kings Hill Trail.

It's really just the road that traverses the hill. Good views of Showdown. Again, I didn't have the right wax for the conditions. The temp was about 50° and I needed klister. Still, the red wax did a fair job of sticking.

On the very top the ground was bare and I lost the trail up there. The blue markers simply didn't go any further. After wandering around for awhile, Redwood and I headed back down.

I went over to Showdown and had a few beers with Roland, Linda and Steve. Took a few runs down the poma lift and called it a day. The snow was too wet for much control.

 

Sunday, March 26, 1995

A snowstorm blew through the area over the past few days. Not real cold temps, but lots of snow. About four inches in town, 30 inches at Showdown. Reports of drifts up to 8 feet deep.

The road to Kings Hill was closed Saturday, but they opened it up early today. Still, very icy and slow going.

At the summit the snow was a deep, dry powder. The temp was about 30°.

I tried to go up the ridge of Kings Hill but the snow was simply too deep. I'd sink up to my thighs with every step. Often the front of the skis would float a bit higher and the backs would sink, sending me backwards.

Even snowmobiles were having all kinds of trouble. A snowcat made a fresh trail between Kings Hill and Silvercrest along a logging road. It was great for skating.

The snowmobilies had gone further down from Silvercrest, so I went even further down as well. Not too bad going back uphill, the blue wax was working fine.

Redwood loved jumping over his head into the deep snow but found it much easier to stay on the snowcat and snowmobile trails.

Later went to Showdown. Took the poma lift a few times, but it wasn't enough downhill for me. So I skied to the summit.

Most of the hill was groomed so it wasn't too tough to trudge up. However, the wax didn't give as much traction as I would have liked at times. Ate an orange in the cafe at the top and rested.

Skied back down and finally began to get the hang of turning. I realized it's called a telemark turn - not a telemark style. I should only do the telemark thing when I enter and exit a turn.

 

Sunday, April 9, 1995

After a warm period, another storm blew in. Six inches in town, at least 12 in the mountains.

I wanted to ski at Showdown since it's closed for the year, but I thought all the untracked snow would make the climb harder than it was worth. Instead I headed up Jefferson Creek.

The snow on top was light and fluffy, but below it had melted some so my skis kept getting deeply buried. I only had the energy to go in about two miles. Coming out was much easier.

Redwood lost two of his booties somewhere. Hardly anyone in the Litle Belts, probably because it kept snowing throughout the day.

Back to Backpacking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


King's Hill area.