09 December 2012

Winter (and Cross Country Skiing) Begins: Butte, Montana is a cross country ski paradise

Most years, we have snow on the ground by Thanksgiving--enough to ski at either of the excellent cross country skiing areas near Butte, Montana in southwest Montana. The Deep Creek pass area (aka "Mt Haggin") has wide, relatively easy trails ideal for both skating and novice skiers. Much better trails, at least for traditional or "classic" skiing, are to be found just north of Butte at The Moulton (named for a turn-of-the-century dairy farm).

The weather has been unseasonably warm, the "new normal" thanks to global warming/climate change. Our first good snow came late this year, but it laid down a heavy wet snow that bonded well to the warm ground (photo of my house in Walkerville):

Our friends Don Stierle and Andrea Stierle have a cabin at The Moulton, and they hosted a "let's eat the leftovers" party after Thanksgiving. It timed nicely with that first snow, and it felt good to be on skies again after my season ended early last February when I packed for China. MollyTheDog loves visiting the Stierles' cabin because she gets to play and hang out with her buddies Chookah (golden retriever) and Shiekah (older mixed breed lab):

The Moulton typically has a few moose hanging around, and I am grateful that MollyTheDog obeys very well and does not chase critters (well, except for squirrels...). I watched this yearly from just a few yards away (and the safety of my pickup):

Meanwhile BIG mama came out of the timber to make sure baby was in no danger:

This past weekend brought more snow as well as near-zero temperatures. Still, the skiing was great (it warmed enough for green kick wax in the afternoon):

PhoebeTheCat, on the other hand, has a different approach when the short days, cold temperatures, and snow comes. She virtually hibernates, spending many hours cuddled up with "Skunky" (a handpuppet from my daughter's childhood that the cat has adopted):

In terms of physical fitness, cross country skiing is an excellent sport. So long as your knees are relatively good, you can go for hours and adjust your speed to your physical condition and the level of training you want to achieve. I like it for the aerobic cardio workout, but a long leisurely ski with friends is also a great joy. Let it snow!


troutbirder said...

That was the problem when I gave up xcountry... my knees. Skiing thru your beautiful wooded mountain trails would be my ideal... And glad to see you back posting again Pat. I was getting worried. ckonali13

Secret Agent Woman said...

Catching up on the last few posts - I am always struck by the difference between your winter and mine. So glad you make a point of getting out in all that beauty.

Judy said...

Lovely capture of that yearling!! I love the colouring of Phoebe!!

NatureFootstep said...

lots of snow in your world too. :)

Janie said...

We're finally accummulating some snow in the mountains. I agree, cross country skiing is excellent exercise.