Pilferers at work.

 
We exited I-90 at Bozeman, Montana and checked into Comfort Suites just as the heavy snowfall began.  Every few minutes I look up from my computer and out the window of our regally appointed suite at the wintry scene outside.  How beautiful a snowstorm looks when seen from a warm hotel room.  Pity the poor motorists still driving.  Now, if only this new snow is packed and groomed on the local ski trails by tomorrow morning.

We have been skiing our little hearts out since Whitefish.  Let’s see…..  We tried skiing Pattee Canyon near Missoula on Thursday.  That was probably the worst snow conditions we’ve encountered on this trip.  The snow was thin and icy with forest debris at the surface.  Quite treacherous really.  Just as I would get into the rhythm of it, my ski would catch on a protruding branch and stop cold, sending me into an awkward dance of flailing arms and lurching legs in an attempt to save myself.  We decided to quit while we were ahead – no broken hips from slamming down on the ice.

Instead, we went down the canyon a mile or two and donned our MicroSpikes to hike up an icy trail to an overlook with a view of the Missoula valley.  Here’s Mary at the summit as a snow cloud moves in:

  
The people who have supplied us with the wonderful maps for our bicycle rides, Adventure Cycling Organization, are headquartered in Missoula.  We paid them a visit Thursday morning.  We were given a tour  where we witnessed rows of employees sitting silently at computers with eyes locked on their screens, presumably making more maps and writing magazine articles – not exactly exciting.

 

Lief & Mary at Adventure Cycling Headquarters

 
With snow cover minimal at Missoula, we drove fifty miles to Seeley Lake on Friday to ski at one of the Nordic centers we had ridden by on our bicycles this summer.  The snow at Seeley was great.  We practically had the course to ourselves:

  Seeley Lake Nordic Course

This morning, Saturday, we headed east to Butte, where we skied at Homestake Lodge.  Again, great snow – fast.  We’ve been conscientously practicing the pointers we picked up at our ski lesson at Whitefish.  We think we’re skiing better but the verdict is still out.

Homestake had a rather limited assortment of groomed trails but we found the best one and skied up to the Contiental Divide – 4.5 kilometers.  I went back for seconds but Mary warmed herself at the lodge because her left foot has been bothering her.  It hurt her so bad today that she had to take off her skis and walk the last hill to the lodge.  It’s a serious matter.  At one point, we talked of ending our ski tour and going home.  If she can’t ski, what’s the point?   Three ibuprofens and an hour’s rest alleviated the pain and she said she’s ready to give it another day  so we drove on to Bozeman.  We’re really looking forward to skiing at Yellowstone which is just an hour’s drive south of here.  Hope her foot feels better.
About that cartoon at the beginning:  we have been saving money by only staying at motels with free hot breakfasts.  In an attempt to have free lunches too, after we stuff ourselves with breakfast, we grab a few bagels and pieces of fruit for our lunch.  Who say’s there’s no such thing as a free lunch?

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