Today the goal was to reach the Whitefish Summit House and bike from there to the bottom of Chair 6, but it wasn't in the cards. Following the Summit Trail up, I made it to the top of Chair 2 a bit faster than on Sunday. About 300 meters past Chair 2 on the Summit Trail, I encountered my first bit of snow that wasn't bike-able, so I bypassed this by taking the mountain service road (not technically allowed but it's pre-season and nobody seemed to mind), then traversed to Toni Matt and back across Big Ravine, where more snow stopped my uphill progress for the day.
4"+ of snow covering the trail ahead, that's a no-go
I certainly wanted to keep going up, but this amount of snow was just a bit too much to handle on the Patrol, and coming down this would not be ideal.
The views, while not what I'm used to, are still incredible, traded the white for green. I hadn't seen Whitefish in the summer and it is quite spectacular, I'm looking forward to getting to the summit and getting a peak into Glacier National Park. A persistent cloud bank has been sitting on Big Mountain since I arrived, preventing some of the best sights and scenery that many people travel here to experience. There was some hope today as the sun did peek through a few minutes, but the cloud is stubborn and didn't burn off.
Views to the southwest and a couple berms on Kashmir
Where the snow stopped me was right near one of the intersections of the Summit Trail and Kashmir, which was rather convenient. After a quick water break and a few photos, I was on my way down Kashmir. Once again, it did not disappoint. The berms were fast and smooth, and the Whitefish trail crew had removed a few of the downed trees. The rain and hail storm that passed through Monday afternoon did not effect the trail in the slightest; the quick drying nature of the climate here is superb for mountain biking.
Trail signs on Kashmir at the Lower Good Med X-ing
I did get into a couple snow piles on the way down, the same ones that sent me up the mountain service road on the way up. I opted to surf the patches (Mad River Glen, VT - "SKI THE PATCH IF YOU CAN"), anytime you can slide on snow you need to take advantage, right?! Speaking of skiing, Beartooth Basin is open in southeastern Montana and it's only about a 8-hour drive from Whitefish...could be out of the question for this trip but potential future plans are always in the works.
The mountain pony (Patrol) getting some initial testing as a snow pony. Results: Passing.
I'm thinking of venturing down into Whitefish to try out the trails at Spencer Mountain tomorrow or Thursday. It's a tough sell to drive somewhere to bike when you have a bike-in, bike-out setup though, especially at a resort that has premier riding available.
We'll see what happens the next few days, hopefully it doesn't rain much more and the sun pops.
There will be a few more posts like this before I leave Montana to head to Washington so stay tuned!