Turner Mountain Friday February 24, 2006

Over the past month I’ve realized that I can sometimes become a little intense.

I don’t mean in the horrible ‘Anakin Skywalker/Hayden Christensen Obi-wan won’t let me touch myself or kiss girls’ intense. I mean more along the lines of ‘great idea; let’s throw rational out the window and get’er done’ sort of intense. It is a trait I wish I could change, but if anything it makes for some great stories. Driving alone to Turner Mountain, Montana in the middle of February is a prime example.

I’ll never rank February 2006 as one of my favorites. At the beginning of the month I was faced with a long weekend, no plans and a burning desire to get the hell away. The city, my apartment and more importantly I was starting to get on my nerves.

It was Wednesday morning. I had a truck, some extra cash and my only commitment was an unsuspicious doctor’s appointment on Monday afternoon. (In hindsight staying in Montana an extra day would have been way better) A desire to go get out of town to Pincher Creek would eventually evolve into a two day boarding trip in Western Montana. By Thursday evening I was suddenly goggle mapping every ski hill in Montana. (Double True) Low and behold I found Turner Mountain.

Now, I won’t deny that the coincidence of a ski hill in Montana called Turner Mountain was not lost on me. If anything it only fueled my drive to go ahead with this asinine plan. Either way, I set out on Friday night for an over night stay in Fernie, drove down to Turner Mountain Saturday morning, skied half a day and then hightailed it to Whitefish for the evening. Now I could go into lengthy details about the trip. About being slightly rear ended in a Super 8 motel parking lot or the ridiculous chunk of ham steak I ate at the Buffalo Café, but there’s not much point. Why? Because I was an idiot who didn’t have a camera. So I don’t have any photographs to go along with my words, so I will not waste your time.

Turner Mountain Ski Tag for Feburary

I could also wax poetically about some divine epiphany I made or the new level of self discovery I achieved. But in actuality the only thing I learned was don’t screw around with cigars or satellite radios while barreling down the side of a snowy mountain. Why? Because it is a good way to introduce the front end of your truck to a snow drift.

Still I do want to rant about the Mountain. Turner Mountain is located 22 miles north of Libby, Montana on the most backwoods of roads. It is a community/volunteer based ski hill, which has no affiliation to a big corporation. From my understanding the citizens of Libby Montana have donated their time and efforts to build this ski hill. On each chair lift pole is a plaque describing which citizen donated money. This gives Turner Mountain an unusual sense of community. All the lifites are people from town; they are the firefighters, carpenters and teachers of Libby.

Turner Mountain is small, with only one rackety chair lift and about 30 runs. The Mountain’s motto is: Steep, Deep and Cheap. On the day I went it was sunny, about 4 degrees (Celsius) and the snow conditions were fairly fresh. The site says 90% of the runs are Black diamond, but I wouldn’t count the Jeep Run as a green. So in actuality there are about 3 blues and one green on the entire Mountain. It is a very difficult hill which keeps you on your toes.

The hill set-up is very simple. There is only a small little two-story cabin, where you can rent some equipment and get some cheap grub. (Last year it was an ATCO trailer) The parking lot sits at the base of the mountain circling around the one chairlift. The cabin doesn’t sell alcohol. Instead they encourage you to bring your own and tailgate with everyone in the parking lot. It turns out this is the place where everyone meets to relax. This makes it feel more like a little social club rather than a ski hill. Needless to say having an Alberta License plate, I stuck out like a sore thumb. The people of Libby were very friendly and were just curious as how in gods name I found their little skiing sanctuary.

Turner Mountain was a great escape. If I had more photos I’d go into more detail about the entire adventure. Either way I’d recommend it to people looking for a unique boarding/skiing experience. I do warn you though if this suddenly sounds like a great Backside Tours/Ski Club gong show – you probably won’t be received to well.

Categories: The-Personnal, The-Inane,

Commenting is closed for this article.