A Great Location for Backcountry Skiing – Montpelier, ID

Liberty Mountain employee, Marc Maybee shares his story of what it took to ski the untouched powder of southern Idaho.

During this last ski season, I got together with a group of old buddies to do some skiing in the Montpelier, ID area. We met up at our friend’s cabin, which is actually 30-40 miles outside of Montpelier, after we all drove in from Salt Lake City, Logan and Jackson. Upon arriving that late Friday night, the five of us quickly started organizing our gear so that we could get an early start in the morning.

We had everything ready within an hour that night, leaving us some time to lounge outside next to a bonfire to soak up the stars and clean mountain air. We caught up with one another, told stories, and just enjoyed the company and location. It wasn’t until the clock struck 3 a.m. that we forced ourselves to go to bed. So much for an early start.

We woke up decently early considering how late we got to bed. We cooked ourselves a delicious breakfast, gathered the last bit of gear, and loaded up the trucks. We headed up the mountain pass for about 20 min from the cabin and found our spot to unload and gear up.

My buddy from Jackson brought a snowmobile with the idea that once we got to our base location we could shuttle each other back to the top with the snowmobile. Two of the guys loaded their gear on the sled and headed off to find a good spot to set up our “base” while the rest of us put the skins on our skis and started the trek up the mountain with our packs on. The idea was that we’d hike for one hour until we either reached our base location or that we’d meet up with the snowmobile on its way back to pick us up one by one. Well, after 4 hours of hiking we were nowhere near where we needed to be and there was no sign of the snowmobile to relieve us.

We decided to take a break and eat some snacks. So we dug down in the snow and made a nice little break area so we could relax. About a half an hour later, we could hear the faint sound of a snowmobile approaching us. The sled cut through the trees with our buddies hollering that they had found a great spot. “ Lets go!” We all packed up our gear with an anxious hope that we’d all take our turn to be shuttled on the sled. Unfortunately, the snowmobile stopped in a spot where the snow had no base and was the consistency of sugar. The snowmobile instantly sunk. It took an hour for all five of us to get the sled out and onto a spot where it would have enough traction to move. After a grand total of five hours, we finally reached our base location to do some actual skiing.

The location was actually a sweet little spot with untouched snow and four different areas to ski. We unpacked our gear and switched our bindings from tour mode to send mode. We experienced untouched snow that was waist deep while accompanied by endless sunshine all day. We made about five laps each before the daylight started to fade. The time had come for us to make the long trek back to the trucks; this time with now hiccups.

As outdoor enthusiasts, I feel as though the struggles we experience just for a couple laps are what really make the entire outcome amazing and memorable. If it were too easy, we wouldn’t appreciate it as much.

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