Glacier NP spring break

The iconic Lake McDonald view

The iconic Lake McDonald view

While I hear that the vast majority of spring breakers head to the warmer southern climes, Julia and I found ourselves heading north towards the Canada border for a few days prior to this year’s spring arrival. And with this timing, the official end of winter brought quite the variety of conditions. Sun, rain, sleet, snow, hail – the full gauntlet. We went up to West Glacier for a bit of car camping and day touring on xc skis. (I won’t rant on about skis too much, but can’t resist a word or two).  All that I can say is before my 176 BD Current/Dynafit TLT Speed Radical setup went MIA recently, I was quite enjoying the new-found pleasures of lightweight alpine touring.

My former setup of BD Currents, TLT Speed Radicals, and TLT5 Mountains. Fun while it lasted!

My former setup of BD Currents, TLT Speed Radicals, and TLT5 Mountains. Fun while it lasted!

But I did recently snag new xc ski setups for both J and myself, so all is not lost. These setups were what we took up to W Glacier: I slid along on Fischer S-Bound 88s and nnn-bc magnums while J cruised on Rossignol BC 90s and Rottefella 3-pins. We’ve both been on the new rigs a few times now and its too early to tell anything definitively, but the Fischer S-Bounds seem to be the early winner. For an all-terrain bcxc ski, the new S-Bound series seems to be leading the way for the small market that it serves. This ski even has a slight nordic rocker in the tip that I’ve found to be quite practical in variable conditions and deeper snow. Anyway, enough about the tech.

Our new xc rigs: Fischer S-Bound 88's and Rossignol BC 90's

Our new xc rigs: Fischer S-Bound 88’s and Rossignol BC 90’s

We skied the mostly flat six mile out and six back to Avalanche picnic area on the Going-to-the-Sun Road as a short day trip in pretty nasty conditions. It rained for the duration with long downpours interspersed with bouts of sleet, hail, and groppel. The frozen forms of snow were brief reprieves from the constant soaking that we sustained. Despite this, we were stoked from the onset to be out of camp and moving in the wilderness. We were also happy for the perfectly nasty conditions to put some of our gear to the test. In all, it was an enjoyable outing.

Going-to-the-Sun in the rain

Going-to-the-Sun in the rain

That was pretty much the main excitement for the trip, as camping in the pouring rain and subsequent freezing temperatures brought the spring-break party level down a few notches after a couple of days. We did have the (pebble) beach to ourselves though, with a view to rival some of the best the West can offer. That was the finishing touch on our official winter here, with still a few unofficial months left in the hills. As with every spring, I’m enjoying the longer days and all that unfolds with them. I hope that everyone’s winter was outstanding, and that spring holds even more!

Panorama stitch - Lake McDonald

Panorama stitch – Lake McDonald

The beach view from camp

The beach view from camp

Rain on Lake McDonald

Rain on Lake McDonald

Food: one of car camping's finest flavors

Potatoes, onions, and garlic in cast iron – car camping at its finest

The beach mosaic

Beach mosaic



Willow art


Brief mountain view while skiing

Brief mountain view from Going-to-the-Sun ski

Foggy morning view from camp

Foggy morning from camp

Skiing in the rain

Rain/sleet skiing!



  1. Reply
    Janice Blum March 31, 2013

    Love it there, I’m ready for a return trip!

  2. Reply
    Glenn April 4, 2013

    Glad to see pics of the trip, keep up the good work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *