He wasn’t expecting powder turns, but that’s exactly what Mike Brede got.
“I’ve never skied powder in June before,” he said.
Brede headed to North Idaho on Sunday and Tuesday in search of snow. He’d been watching the weather and thought there was a good chance there would be some lingering late-season snow.
On Sunday, he headed to Diamond and Cliff lakes on the Idaho/Montana state line near St. Regis, Montana. Brede said he’s a bit of a “weather geek” and saw the forecast models called for snow. He was right. At the trailhead, there were between 3 and 6 inches of snow.
Brede hiked up above Cliff Lake and skied to the next basin to the south. He then skied down to Cliff Lake where he ran into several hikers.
It snowed throughout the day.
“It was like a blizzard at times,” he said.
The skiing was good and more reminiscent of April skiing than mid-June.
As he hiked back to his car, about an inch of snow accumulated on his hood and backpack.
“It was good skiing for June,” he said. “I mean, can’t complain.”
On Tuesday, Brede went to Beehive Lake, in the Selkirks above Priest Lake. The Pack River road, which is not plowed, recently opened. As it was, there was one large berm of snow that may have stopped a car, but Brede’s truck was able to navigate.
Brede hiked into Beehive Lake and toured to the snowline on North Twin Peak.
“There was even some dry powder,” he said. “Skiing was fun and fantastic for June. My skis never found the firm isothermal snow below. I was able to squeak out turns to the lowest lake/bog (5,682 feet) before I switched back to hiking boots.”
The trail in was mostly covered by snow. For those attempting to hike or ski, Brede recommends bringing a GPS device.
“The trail is really tough to follow right now,” he said.
The snowpack was stable for Brede, who conduced several slope tests. He didn’t “get anything to go.”
A better-than-average snowpack in the Northwest has kept area skiers and boarders happy.
“It’s pretty much nonstop since September,” Brede said.
In fact, Brede has skied 10 months in a row traveling less than a 2 1/2-hour drive from Spokane. He’s hoping to make it to a full year.
“A couple places in the Cabinets hold snow into August,” he said.