It's all about snow. In the lodge, a visitor asked me, "How's the snow up top?" I answered, like the kids do, "It's all good." It's not hard to please skiers at Red Lodge Mountain. We do not expect double-digit inches of new-fallen snow. When we have a season of good snow, as we do this year, it means we can ski Palisades. It's called Bonus Terrain, and although we wish we could ski it every year, we take every opportunity when it does open.
A guy in the family group ahead of us on the Miami Beach Chair herringboned up the hill toward the entrance to Columbine and called out, "Nobody's been here," with such excitement you'd have thought it was two feet of untracked powder. It was about four inches of cream on top of groomed, and it made Columbine a paradise. Paradise was too. Winchester was so much fun we took it twice in a row, and Lobo's steep bumps were all soft.
The true bonus is the view of the palisades, upthrust eroded sandstone spires that stretch along the Beartooth Front and catch the morning light.
With apologies to Freddy Cannon, we didn't take a walk after dark to a swingin' place. We took the chance to ski Palisades Park. There's no shoot-the-chute in this glade area, just deep, seldom-skied snow, trees, steeps, and the respite of falling onto the summer road before tilting over its edge into more trees and steeps and the relief of Meeteetse Trail at the bottom. We ran out of legs before we ran out of snow.