January 8, 2010

Skiing in the new year


It's been pretty brown in town this winter - the leaves never fully fell, and it seems like there's been more deep freeze than snowfall. Cross-country ski season began last weekend, however, with our annual New Year's outing.

Originally, I wanted to go to the new Como Trails Cross Country Ski Area south of Hamilton, where dogs are allowed. After reading on the Missoula Nordic Ski Club site about having to hike up to snow, though, we settled on a trip up Lolo Pass without the pups.

The day started out with a handful of vehicles in the parking area and the trails shrouded in fog, but after 6 3/4 miles of skiing the sun was out and the lot was packed.

See some photos here.

Distance: Trails from 1.2 to 14 miles are available; some are shared with snowmobiles. We did a 6 3/4-mile loop that incorporated parts of the Glade Creek and Packer Meadows trails.

Trailhead: From Missoula, drive 9 miles south on U.S. Highway 93 to Lolo, then 32 miles west on U.S. Highway 12 to the Lolo Pass Visitor Center, just over the border in Idaho. (Parking costs $5.)