15 January 2009

Moulton Day: New Folks Discover Montana's Finest Cross Country Ski Trails

The local ski club hosted "Moulton Day" at The Moulton Cross Country ski area near Butte, Montana, this past weekend. I volunteered to help Recreation Forester Joceyln Dodge post trail signs to reduce conflicts with snowmachines (the 'biners get lost & confused, and end up riding on ski trails), so I headed to The Moulton early for a brisk 2-hour ski before the crowd arrived. Nippy morning with endlessly fascinating frost patterns on the windshield:

A crystal clear, sunny day dawns on the the old dairy meadow:

Paul Sawyer (founder of The Moulton ski trails) owned this cabin for many years, an original building from the old Moulton Dairy; hope the new owners preserve it:

As the sign says, Pasture Perfect:

After a good run around Yankee Boy and Big Nipper trails, it was time to head back over Claimjumper and down Sluice Box to the parking area. Well, almost time. First, one more loop around Little Nipper. The trails at The Moulton vary greatly in "personality" and, on most days, given various snow conditions and the skis you're wearing, there will be one "perfect" trail. This day, it was Little Nipper's turn.

The crowd assembled, with many local skiers eager for a chance to become more familiar with the mysterious, enfolded, and sometimes confusing trails (note the dogs--The Moulton is a decidely dog-friendly ski area):

Whereas many ski trails are laid out on old logging roads or as simple, boring "up, up, up then down, down, down" routes, The Moulton trails were designed to use terrain in the most effective, challenging way possible, as this Map of The Moulton shows:

Something for everyone. Hard trails, easy trails, comraderie, and (for the dogs) a wonderful deer carcass:

Jocelyn & I loaded my sled with the tool bag, trail signs, and other gear while the rest of the gang split up with several guides to enjoy the trails. Thanks to Cam Carstarphen (on right) for organizing this event:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great area! We live in Boulder and found this on your blog, and we tried it out--GREAT! Nice to have a place to ski with our kids and the dogs. Thank you!