Glacier National Park Ski Trip

“Look, a goat!” Ryan excitedly said as he pointed at the nearby cliff with its ledges cloaked in snow. After a few seconds I detected movement on a ledge and saw the creamy-colored mountain goat. I’m still amazed he spotted that goat amidst the snow-covered ledges.

Can you see the mountain goat?
Zoomed in on the mountain goat

The mountain goat was the highlight of our ski trip into Glacier National Park but not the most adrenaline-pumping wildlife sighting. After leaving Avalanche campground to return to the trailhead, I caught movement in the woods out of the corner of my eye and then movement a bit ahead in the forest off the trail–two moose. The second moose disappeared into the woods but the first (and closest) moose stared at us.

I decided now was not the time to take photos of a moose and quickly tucked my camera into my jacket. Ryan and I decided it would be best to quickly ski past the moose while it was behind a tree. After I started to go, Ryan yelled “Go, Go, Go” and I propelled myself into high gear–an awkward run on skis. I thought about darting off the trail to take cover behind some birch trees but decided that the deep snow would slow me down and I had a better chance of trying to ski fast in our tracks.

After we were aways down the trail from the moose we stopped to catch our breath. Apparently after we started to go, Ryan saw the moose take a few lunging steps towards us and yelled for me to go faster. Thankfully, we hurried by fast enough for her and she didn’t pursue us farther. Ski poles don’t seem like an adequate line of defense against a charging moose especially when your attached to skis in deep snow.

Skiing towards Avalanche campground
Skiing on Going to the Sun Road

Besides the two wildlife sighting, the day was mostly uneventful. We skied thirteen miles round-trip on the Going to the Sun Road starting at Lake McDonald Lodge. We we unsure if tracks would go beyond Avalanche campground but luckily they did until an avalanche blocked the road. While the previous skier took his skis off and walked over the avalanche, we decided to turn around since we didn’t bring avalanche equipment.

Avalanche blocking Going to the Sun Road shortly after aptly-named Avalanche campground

We took a brief snack break at the Avalanche picnic area and were surprised to find the restrooms open (nothing can really go wrong with pit toilets in winter). After a warm lunch break in the truck we drove over to the Camas Road and skied 6.5 miles round-trip for a grand total of 19.5 miles. The Camas Road didn’t have as much skier traffic as the Going to the Sun Road and Ryan broke trail for the last half-mile before we turned around.

Breaking trail on Camas Road

Overall, the day was a success between wildlife sightings and mileage. We were aiming to ski twenty miles to prepare ourselves for our upcoming ski trip in the White Mountains in two weeks and felt that 19.5 miles was close enough considering we were breaking trail at the end. Another great day to be outside.

Trip Stats: 19.5 miles in 5 hours and 45 minutes moving time (doesn’t include snack breaks)

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