Summer Skiing in the Beartooths

Skiing the Beartooth Highway in Montana and Wyoming is the perfect ending to a great season.

The famed highway — arguably the most beautiful high-elevation route in America — is only open from May to October. The SkiZer made the trip in mid-June and skied some of the headwalls off the roadway and also hit the slopes at the tiny, two-platter Beartooth Basin ski area.

The highway is nothing short of amazing. It rises more than a vertical mile from Red Lodge, Mont., and tops out near 11,000 feet. Snow can fall any month of the year, and indeed, while the SkiZer visited, two snowy storms closed the roadway in Wyoming for periods of time.

It’s a wild and beautiful place.

Over the course of four days, SkiZer shredded the high-elevation slopes and even got out the bike to ride the gorgeous highway. It was an epic trip — one that left the SkiZer wanting more.

Days 42 & 43: Beartooth Highway, Mont.

  • Vertical: 15,000
  • Vertical for the year: 735,000
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A skier shreds the soft snow on Rock Creek Headwall.
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Skiers must hike across the Beartooth Plateau to reach Rock Creek Headwall.
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Gardner Headwall offers a wide-open run near Beartooth Pass.
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The platter lift at Beartooth Basin offers access to Twin Lakes Headwall.
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A skier carves a high-speed turn on Twin Lakes Headwall.
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Huge snowdrifts on the roadway near Beartooth Pass.
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SkiZer gets ready to drop in on Gardner Headwall.
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During a road closure, SkiZer nears 10,000 feet on the Beartooth Highway.

Water, Water Everywhere Along Denny Creek

After our huge snow year, the mountains are coming alive with picturesque streams.

Denny Creek near Snoqualmie Pass is a great example. This tumbler is looking fantastic as last-winter’s white stuff dissolves into liquid energy.

Avalanche lilies are just starting to bloom along the trail. Accompanied by his daughter, SkiZer pounded out a five-miler up to the upper Denny Creek basin before high-country snow turned us around.

Easy access, great views and a gorgeous stream — just what you want from a quick mountain escape.

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Hiking along the Denny Creek Trail.
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Avalanche lilies are starting to bloom along Denny Creek.
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About a mile in, a perfect spot to sit and watch the river.
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Getting ready for a stream crossing.
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Keekwulee Falls along Denny Creek.

History Lessons Learned While Kayaking Elliott Bay

The SkiZer hit the water recently for a tour of Elliott Bay in Seattle.

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SkiZer on the water.

If you’re a student of Seattle history, you know that Elliott Bay is the reason for Seattle’s being. At the time of Seattle’s founding, many other locations — Olympia, Port Townsend, Steilacoom, to name a few — had a head start. But Seattle eventually won out because of the vision of settler Doc Maynard, who pushed to locate the city in what he knew was a better place for commerce.

Today’s ever-changing Seattle skyline is proof that Doc had it right.

Doc used to paddle a canoe around these waters. From a kayak today, it’s an amazing sight.

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A waterside view of “Echo” at Olympic Sculpture Park.
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Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle Center and the Space Needle from Elliott Bay.
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The ever-changing Seattle skyline. Doc Maynard’s vision in 1851 led to this.