Learning the burn: Skiing back in Lincoln

Paul Cullen makes his mark on a ridge in Copper Basin.
Paul Cullen makes his mark on a ridge in Copper Basin. (Click image to buy print)

This ski season was a struggle for me. I broke my collar bone in late January, right after two trips into Lincoln. It was a bummer. Especially because the first two trips were complete whiteouts and Paul and I had no idea the area we were exploring.

Luckily, the doc gave me the “go-ahead with caution” in late March. I called up Paul and we made a plan to hit up the burned forest once again. But as luck would have it, the very next day a storm came through and dumped roughly 10 inches of fresh. I called in sick, as did Paul.

What we found were big bowls, large ridges and stable spring skiing, quite the contrary to the whiteout days we had had in early January.

 

Paul following the trees for visibliity in January.
Paul following the trees for visibliity in January. (Click image to buy print)

 

Paul on the way up. The sun was extremely low in January, creating a surreal feeling.
The sun was extremely low in January, creating a surreal feeling. (Click image to buy print)
Paul slashes in an open pocket.
Paul slashes in an open pocket on a flat-light day in January. (Click image to buy print)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surreal light of January in Montana.
Surreal light of January in Montana. (Click image to buy print)

 

Finding some fluff on our first sunny day.
Finding some fluff on our first sunny day. (Click image to buy print)

Prior to the 10 inch dump, the zone we were gonna ski had gone through several thaw/freeze cycles, so we knew the snow would be stable. We were half expecting heavy wet snow sitting on top of a crust, but what we found was wind affected blower power. It was strange because the snow looked wonky, but after two turns, we quickly realized it was total hero snow! By far one the BEST days of my life!!

 

Hope he used sunscreen!
Hope he used sunscreen!
Paul skins up a northeastern facing bowl.
Paul skins up a northeastern facing bowl. (Click image to buy print)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking up the ridge.
Looking up the ridge. (Click image to buy print)

 

Paul takes in the view from up top.
Paul takes in the view from up top.

Having a sunny day was simply amazing. We were able to see the full potential of what was around. We marked our maps, drew in lines and of course, finally had some good photo opportunities! All in all a great day. And again, totally different from the socked in days of our prior trips.

 

Paul finds his line through soft-windblown pow.
Paul finds his line through soft-windblown pow. (Click image to buy print)

 

Taking the ridge down. Next year, we will be skiing the lines behind him!
Taking the ridge down. Next year, we will be skiing the lines behind him! (Click image to buy print)

 

Paul heading home.
Paul heading home. (Click image to buy print)

One Response to Learning the burn: Skiing back in Lincoln

  1. Awesome. I am moving to the Helena area and have been researching backcountry ski options. Is this the Copper Bowls, the infamous snowmobile area? Do you need a sled to access this area, i.e. too far from the last plowed road? Thanks for any info and great job on the photos, looked like a great day. Cheers, Kevin

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