Hitching a ride to McCall, Idaho the morning of February 1st was probably the best life choice I’ve made in 2015 so far. During the ride up, HWY 55 looked different than I’d ever seen it in early February. Chunks of deteriorating ice lined the Payette River. Instead of snow-capped trees and glorious white hill sides, the view was painted brown and green, with scant pepperings of white and grey. But then we crossed the threshold into McCall. It was at almost that very moment that the snow started to fall. Winter weather, as rare this season as an albino peacock, had returned.
NOAA underestimated the snowfall (crazy, right?) for Sunday night and we were pleasantly surprised with 6 inches of freshies at Brundage on Monday morning. It wasn’t too hard to find the bottom on Monday, but it was soft enough and it kept storming over the following couple days. The conditions weren’t quite as cold and dry as what I’ve been used to in Idaho in the past (slightly more “Hood-esque,” if you will), but I’ll take em’! Tuesday and Wednesday, Mother Nature was running a promotion on free refills at Brundage, and the off-piste conditions became more “bottomless.” Knee deep in the trees? Yes, please! Lift lines? What lift lines!? Shhhhhhhhhhhh! We don’t want to blow this place up!
Hidden Valley: check! North Boundary: check! Deadwood Natural Terrain Park: check! Mexico (sorry, but this one’s not on the trail map): check! Out of bounds shredding: check! The list goes on, and on.
I had a blast lapping the trees accessible by Lakeview Chair, with its natural hits aplenty, and lack of tracks (all day) that weren’t from me and mine.
Unfortunately, the wintery weather faded away as last week progressed. Like the droves of tourists returning for the second weekend of McCall’s Winter Carnival, the uncharacteristically warm weather was back. But alas, this season, you take what you can get, and last weekend was still pretty fun on the resort. I like to call the riding we did “tater skating” or “peanut butter sliding.” Conditions were slightly crunchy early on, and slightly soft and sludgy later on. There was still some good fun to be had in the trees, and it was a great day to work on stupid looking butters and euro carves. I don’t necessarily condone spraying spandex laden ski-racers, but if that’s your thing, conditions were good for that too.
Regardless of freeze/thaw conditions coming back in full effect, it felt good to be riding in Idaho again. There’s a vibe on the mountains out here that you just don’t get everywhere else. There’s something to be said about getting 8 lift towers up on the chair and still being able to hear stoked lifties getting rowdy at the bottom. McCall has plenty of charm as well. With less than ideal conditions on the mountain, there’s still plenty of fun to be had in town. I recommend drinking good beer and watching live music at the Salmon River Brewery, whilst visually enjoying some dance moves provided free of charge by some guy getting white-dad-wasted.
It’s been “snaining” a bit at the area resorts as I write this, but I’m crossing my fingers that temps drop enough tonight for me to ride the Pineapple Express straight to Powtown tomorrow.
Above: Some uniquely Idahoan lodging I’ve gotten to enjoy during my stay in the area (shot with the Lensbaby Circular Fisheye).
Below: The lake wasn’t quite so frozen on Saturday, but the Griswold family didn’t care.