A Travellerspoint blog

ULLR Fest

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Oh, ULLR, Norse God of Snow,

Show mercy on wee Snow Bandits below Latitude 46; end our Powder Slump Peril!!

We are summoning our Snow Brethren from far and wide,

From the Northwest Hoodsmen, to the Heavenly Angels...

...the Desert Cat Riders, the Somber Sisters of Alta, and the Bad Boyz of Jackson…

Even Ole Ye Steamboat – Our Champagne Powder Faithful,

We are the Night Riders of the High Summits, with hopes and dreams of Glorious Powder Days ahead.

From our Gondola lots at ULLR Fest, we will ignite Bonfires and Blazes, humble before the Norse God of Snow!

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Posted by Snowy Brooke 23:01 Comments (0)

Ideas for the Romantic Snowman at Heart

Low-Budget Ideas for Romantic Snowmen

1. Take your Sweetie up to Breckenridge's Horseshoe Bowl - offer to ride the side of the T-Bar that bears the brunt of the wind.

2. On your next Snowy Trek, shovel out a "Snowy Love Seat” made for two. Show her how prepared you are - let her know you've got extra duct tape, just in case she rips her puffy.

3. Surprise her with your advance planning - Poach a friend’s Hot Tub for a Full Moon Night. And, because you are concerned for both safety and compostable materials, whip out that Swiss Army Knife, ready to cut out some apple drinking cups! ;)

4. After a few runs on the hill, compliment her and tell her how much you like Riding with such a Pretty Girl.

5. Give up an episode of Man v. Wild or Late on 8 for a fun movie that she’s picked out. . . er, just ensure you've paid off those library fines with cans of food in advance, so that you can actually check out the DVD on your own card.

6. On a Below 0 degree morning, head outside to start her car and scrape her windows. When you return inside, refrain from telling her how much she should get a Subaru.

7. Suggest an Epic Mix pic of the two of you standing posed inside one another's skis catching a smooch on the hill; proudly share it with all your friends on your Facebook Wall. For extra points, change that status to "In a Relationship". :)

8. Shave your face to her specifications!

9. Offer to carry her skis to the car. While you're walking, plan a Halloween costume ensemble together. Sure, it's months away, but you aren't afraid to make plans with this girl!

10. And, even though you aren't technically allowed in Canada, you at least ride with her to the border and hitch back yourself. Give her a sweet kiss and hug goodbye as she drives onward to ski the pants off of Alaska, without you. ;)

Posted by Snowy Brooke 13:55 Archived in USA Tagged colorado breckenridge Comments (0)

Whitefish, Montana & Glacier National Park

Pacific Northwest finds

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View Montana and Jackson Part V (I think) on Snowy Brooke's travel map.

Whitefish, MT: Where Seasons Greetings, Christmas bells and other circa 1980s holiday fashions adorn the main streets

Sure, you could drive to the base of Whitefish Mountain (formerly known as Big Mountain), finding the usual luxury accommodations. However, I recommend a stroll through the center of town where the snow glistened on the front porch's of modest homes, reminiscent of Mayberry street.
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"Ski Bum" or "Bro" would not describe any locals that I met here. Whitefish seemed a "second stop" for veteran outdoorsey couples, retreating away from more developed "resort" towns.

One local bike/coffee shop owner is an accomplished ski mountaineer and biker who moved here with his wife after they had originally spent ten years in Jackson Hole together - they wanted to ski more of Canada (5 hours away) and let the grandparents watch the kiddos (now, that is strategy). Another young couple, two snowboarders, were bored by the Denver commuter ski areas and sought to change things up in a more remote area of the Northwest. The other local I met here was a retired competitive downhill skier - he was among the early group to help brand the town to outsiders. He is now living more full time in Palm Springs and comes back to Whitefish for the major events - his only complaint, "lack of sun".

We were experiencing the Pacific Northwest, which was not shy on clouds and overcast skies.

So, amidst the overcast skies, I kept those endorphins high with exhilierating morning boot pack up to Whitefish Mtn.. A favorite along the hike - gaping at the "Ghost" trees. A local told me that the snow-ghosts are the result of rime ice building up around the trees. There is excess build up partly due to less wind - which may otherwise blow the rime ice and snow off the branches.
Ghost Trees in Big Mountain

Ghost Trees in Big Mountain


Worth checking out, I found this link a nice characterization of the sites and experiences around WhiteFish.
www.highonadventure.com/Hoa06dec/Larry/Big%20Mountain,%20Montana.htm (< ERROR: the link title is too long!)

Skiing Glacier National Forest...Recommended as one of the top 1,000 Places to See Before you Die

"Why seek out this feeling of smallness - delight in it, even? Why leave the comforts...walk for miles with a heavy pack...all to reach a place of rocks and silence...why contimplate with exhilaration rather than despair...a frozen lava of mountains extending into the distance until the peaks dissolve at the edge of a hard blue sky?...One answer is that not everything that is more powerful than us must always be hateful to us. What defies our will can provoke anger and respect, but also arouse awe and respect...We are humiliated by what is powerful and mean but awed by what is powerful and noble. ...Sublime places repeat in grand terms a lesson that ordinary life typically introduces viciously: that the universe is mightier than we are, that we are fail and temporary and have no alternative but to accept limitation on our will....So grandly is it written there that we may come away from such places not crushed but inspired by what lies beyond us, priviledged to be subject to such majestic necessities." The Art of Travel
Elk Mountain, Glacier National Park

Elk Mountain, Glacier National Park

As a first timer on the "Glacial scene," I read up on a few basics.

Glaciers are made up of fallen snow - as the snow ages in the same spot long enough, it begins to compress and transform into ice. Glacier National Park straddles the northern USA and Canada, and is considered a reminant of the Last Ice Age. Glaciers are rivers of ice that are constantly slowly moving. This dense, 700 mile forest is consumed with wildlife, including the increasingly extinct, Grizzly bear. A little homework on fatal bear attacks before setting out? "Male, 1987...last seen alive following and photographing a female with cubs at Elk Mountain in Glacier National Park. Investigators recovered film of the female approaching in attack mode at 50 yards..." Really, that's where we're going?
www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbpIOXaHID0

My guide seemed to enjoy calling out just about every trace of a carnivorous animal he could find.

A mile or so into the forest, I recalled a half-eaten pork sandwich accidentally left in my pack. At about this moment, the guide takes a moment to shout, "look, wolf tracks!". My guide also took fancy in a nearby "animal rub down tree". Like it was some sort of science project, he encouraged me to marvel at the grizzly bear's fur still clinging to it. :( Unfortunately, this snowplayer takes signs of grizzlies as cue to evacuate the area immediately! Eventually, my guide got the message. From then on out, I was learning about thumper's tracks, flowers and trees. :) Hence, I proudly display this photo of the enchanting orchid. I chose to leave the grizzly photo ops to National Geographic.
Orchid in Glacier National Park

Orchid in Glacier National Park

The night before my trek up Elk Mountain in Glacier National Park, I attended a presentation by a Canadian Ski Mountaineer.

Unlike more mainstream influences, he was not ashamed to say that he sometimes turns back when the risk is too great; he takes pride in being a husdband, and a father of two, and has more to live for than himself. He talked about how he hoped to ski when he's 85, not just until 35. He remarked that knowledge is power in backcountry skiing. Standing in Glacier National Forest, this couldn't be more true - knowledge was a freedom to experience a wilderness that no tram, car, bus, or even bike could fully take a person. And, while appreciating all these freeing experiences, it's still a comfort to have thoughts of loved ones and always return safely home.
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In this little write-up, I offer only a sliver of experiences to encounter in this vast forest. I encourage anyone reading to check out more websites and links - your tastebuds will be wet with interest in ALL kinds of things to do. It feels a little under-stated for the magnitude, the history and the sentiment this special place exudes...

Posted by Snowy Brooke 22:21 Archived in USA Tagged trees snow winter park mountain river ski snowboard glacier country national canada resort cross hike forest elk whitefish montana traveler mountaineering backcountry snowplay Comments (0)

Montana Bound!

Where my first travel blog begins...

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As my first travel blog EVER, allow me to introduce why travel invigorates me.

For years, this Kansas girl has wanted to journey freely across the West. Such a journey has meant a chance to feel pioneering; feel my stomach hurt from rounds of laughs; ride horses and ride powder snow; people watch in a culture apart from my own; see exotic landscapes.

Despite the anticipation that comes with travel, it can also be wraught with disappointment and loneliness. So, in type A travel fashion, I have taken steps to hedge the "loneliness on the road" risks:

  • Notify several girlfriends in advance, that I am willing to meet their random friends and family members if they will be in the vicinity of my upcoming destinations. If it's a good time, I promise to throwing in a bottle of vino upon my return. ;)
  • Email second cousins living in the surrounding target areas - it's time to reconnect!
  • Read up on conversation starters at the Continental Breakfasts. So, I see you have a trucker's hat, are you a sports fan?
  • Carry my Guidebook and a free local paper into the bar - this will suggest I'm open to talking to people when I otherwise wouldn't be in my hometown.

Approaching my first stop, I realize who my new companions will be for a little while: the front desk clerks, the coffee baristas, the waiters, whatever outdoor guide services I may render, the occassional Joe actually in a mood for conversations with strangers, maybe a random person at the locker room of a rec center where I've paid the visitors' fee, and of course, the retirees I see at the Super 8 free breakfast (with stories about their daughter and what a wonderful life she lives married with kids and a meaningful career).

Tonight, I'm at my recommended Solo Type A budget traveler accommodations: The grand ole Super 8. I get free coffee, free breakfast, internet and never seem to have to verify my Triple A discount rate card. ;)

I am armed with tips from the Moon Handbooks and a mission for feeling a little extra jingle....like a good day of sun and powder snow - you can't help but hollar!

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Posted by Snowy Brooke 22:53 Archived in USA Tagged snow shops winter skiing travel towns coffee college single montana traveler missoula solo Comments (0)

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