Wake up, drive, park, uber, fly... sleep… land, drive, camp… sleep… wake up, drive, camp… sleep… wake up, drive, destination reached… have a drink.
An itinerary not for the faint of heart with nearly 48 hours of travel via trains, planes and automobiles spanning six states, two time zones, about twenty bathroom stops, a small fortune in packaged beef jerky, not enough extra socks and boxers and zero worries except for getting stranded in the middle of the desert out of gas with an unwalkable amount of miles to the nearest help in either direction. Pat McCarthy, Matt Belzile, Sammy Luebke, Matt Wainhouse, Forest Bailey, Ian Post and myself were led here on the word of Montana local, and newest 686 Global Team Skier, Parker White. Parker’s knowledge landed us a five-star, river front camping spot complete with an open field for activities at the foot of the Beartooth Mountains.
The Beartooth Pass dances and winds its way in and out of Wyoming and back into Montana. Slithering its way from the Northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park at 7,500 feet to a vertex of about 11,000 feet before it snakes back down to a valley of 5,500 feet in Red Lodge, Montana. The pass closes from October to May due to snowfall and intermittently throughout the summer when overnight snowfall is not uncommon. On top of the pass sits Beartooth Basin, home to a couple poma tows and varying terrain that sets up ripe for a good time with your crew. The surrounding area has about 3,000 vertical feet of hike-in terrain in addition to the 1,000 vertical feet of poma serviced terrain.
686 Recommended On-Hill Activities:
Lower Poma Terrain Park - A handful of features lappable via the Poma 2. The "park" changes daily with the rapid snowmelt. With a bit of intuition and a shovel you can build or rebuild whatever you please.
Upper Poma Area - Poma 1 provides hiking access to moguls, fun corn snow fields, cornices and steeps and your only way out to the small dirt parking lot.
Fallen Cornice Chunder Field - Under Nikky's we found a super fun chunder field filled with chunks of a, ski patrol triggered, fallen cornice. Once the debris settled there is plenty of fun to be had flowing through the larger snow chunks.
Road Laps - Pile your crew in the back of your pickup, rip up to the Forest Service sign at the Montana Wyoming border, unload, rip down, do it all again. Don't forget to switch drivers and give everyone a chance.
686 Recommended Off-Hill Activities:
Polish Horseshoes - A go to after riding. Grab a couple empty tall cans and some trekking poles about 15 yards apart and have at it. Further you knowledge here.
Muff - Another classic time waster. The crew stands around in a circle and passes a soccer ball from one to another all while keeping the ball from touching the ground. The person who touches the ball last before it hits the ground gets a letter (M,U,F or F). The first person to spell MUFF is the loser. He/she must walk a few paces away, turn around and let the entire crew kick the ball at them. Be careful of the Canadians, they seem mellow but Matt Belzile proved they can really aim for the head with precision.
Wiffle Ball - The classic baseball game with a plastic bat and ball. It's Montana there's plenty of rocks around, toss them on the ground try not to trip over them and boom you have bases.
River Bath - Not for the faint of heart, the river at the campsite was absolutely freezing. Those who wanted to clean up had to brave the dreaded glacier melt for a guaranteed brianfreeze. Note that the river bath is also a great alternative punishment for losing MUFF.
Campfire - There's plenty of fallen brush around to make a huge fire. Recommended pairings include a chair, brats, ribs and beers.
For more information about Beartooth visit these resources:
-Erik Hoffman Staff Photographer / Graphic Designer @erikhoffmanphoto