Maxwell Butte

February 27, 1999

In spite of a wet weather forecast of “rain at times, snow level at 6500 ft.,” our small group of two decided to give this trip a try. We figured that: 1) Weather forecasts are sometimes wrong, 2) Rain at times is not equivalent to a continuous downpour, and 3) Telemarking in wet, heavy snow is good practice and exercise. We saw two vehicles turn into the Little Nash SnoPark turnoff, so it looked like the Sam Miller Sand Mountain trip skiers are also all-weather skiers. Our trip began at the Potato Hill SnoPark, and headed north off the highway just west of Lost Lake. Until near the very top part of Maxwell Butte it is all moderately rising terrain, and well suited for a parking lot skin up. About 1:00 pm we saw the first cornice, in a meadow. We opted to turn around at 1:30, knowing that the steepish summit area could present avalanche danger after the past unusually high snowfalls. Skiing down through the heavy, wet snow was work, especially for the traditionally skinny-skied John, but he acknowledged “It was an exciting downhill run.” We reached the dry vehicle interior about 3:15, and both skinny skier John Hegg and fatter boarded trip leader Ruby Seitz agreed that the day had tested our raingear well.

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