Cooke City Day 3 – Sled Access

(Last Updated On: April 17, 2018)

While there are a lot of lines in Cooke City that skiers can access without a sled, the heart of it all lies in sled-neck territory. The best way to get out there is to bring your own sled. But, in cases where you don’t own a sled or you don’t feel like lugging it 18 hours on a windy snowy road, then it’s easy to throw your thumb out an hitch a ride to your destination – all for the small cost of a few bucks or a beer, and some chit-chat about how you actually can climb and ski off of peaks like this.

Or better yet, you meet a local. Our local was enthusiastic as can be. We met him at the coffee shop, and then later at the bar. With a town of only 50 people, it’s easy find someone when you want to. With a one-tooth crooked smile, his passion was contagious. He loved Cooke City and wanted to share it with us. “We gotta figure out how you can get yourselves out to Daisy Pass tomorrow,” he said. “I gotta work tomorrow… But… Ah screw it. You can just take my sled. I’m not using it. It’s that red Yamaha in front of the Soda Butte. Just don’t take it past Daisy Pass. And only take two of you at a time. It’d be appreciated if you filled it up when you’re done.” He even took the time to introduce us to two other visitors who did have sleds, who also offered to tow Doug and Tony while Frank and I rode Big Red. That’s how it went. That’s how the world works in Cooke City. And that’s how we found ourselves in a sled caravan the next morning, on our way to Daisy Pass.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

We admired Republic from afar, which we’d skied the day before.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

We left Big Red and our sled-tow at the top of Daisy, and skinned around Crown Butte to Crown Butte Pass, admiring lines the whole way.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

Chutes off Miller.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

Wolverine – looking fun, but a little too far for us without a sled past Daisy.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

At the top of Crown Butte pass we pondered our options, and decided to head into the northeast basin below to check out more terrain.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

It wasn’t long before this coulior caught our eye. This quickly became our target for the day.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

We skinned up the apron.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

But as it steepened we switched to booting.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

From the top, we drooled over more amazing lines we wished to ski.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

Frank dropped in first.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

Tony.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

Needless to say, the skiing was great. Me.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

Doug.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

Below the apron, though well tracked from sleds, offered some good skiing as well. Frank.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

Me.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

A look back up at where we’d just been.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

As we rounded out the finishing touches on our run, we ran into a solo sled-skier, a local who was admiring our ski. And the magic that is Cooke City ensued. We were not looking forward to the hour or so skin back to Daisy Pass. So,for the cost of a few bucks, this good local towed our butts up there with his sled. It took two trips, but it saved us effort, energy, and time. We were ready for more skiing.

Tony, gracious as he is, decided to let us have the better end of the deal. We headed up Henderson while he drove Big Red back to it’s home in front of the Soda Butte. So, back up we went, as weather began to close in around us.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

As we scoped out lines off the ridge, the wind howled in our faces. It was miserable at times.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

But, then, views like these brought us back to our happy place. Republic, from a different view.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

Scotch Bonnet seems made for skiing.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

But then there’s this – what dreams are made of. Wolverine and Sawtooth towered along the horizon, suddenly high on my list of “must ski”.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

We’d hoped to drop in on the northeast side of Henderson. But, cornices and recent wind-loading had us a little worried. So, we opted for the safer, yet fun, ski on the southwest side, back to the road. We enjoyed milking some fine powder turns along the way. Frank, looking rather ghost-like.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

Doug.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

After following the road for a bit, we diverged from it to ski the burn more directly towards town. Doug.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

Frank.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

And we skied right into town, straight down main street, and to the door of our hotel room.
Backcountry skiing near Cooke City

There are some places that I’m happy to have visited. And then there are those places that I’m sad to leave. Cooke City was one of the latter. Four days in Cooke City was only enough to get a small taste of what this area has to offer. With easy access, friendly locals, and fantastic terrain, we are bound to be back 🙂


Update: In April, 2018 our friend Tony perished in an avalanche skiing solo outside the boundaries at Bridger Bowl. Tony was a great person and we miss him greatly.


Cooke City Posts:
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4

Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things,Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate 🙂 Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

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Summary
Cooke City Day 3 - Sled Access
Article Name
Cooke City Day 3 - Sled Access
Description
Day 3 of exploring the backcountry ski terrain around Cooke City, Montana brought us to the good stuff, thanks to the help of a roughed up friendly local.
Author

Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things, Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate :) Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

5 thoughts on “Cooke City Day 3 – Sled Access

  • March 5, 2013 at 8:28 am
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    Such a nice job you guys.

  • March 5, 2013 at 12:19 pm
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    These have been some cool reports. Great terrain!

    Thanks !

    Ed

  • March 6, 2013 at 9:52 pm
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    Nice posts, thanks again.

  • March 7, 2013 at 3:43 pm
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    Great TR and photos – thanks for sharing. That place makes Lake City look like a metropolis. Skiing the burn area right to town was very memorable for me. Thank again for sharing.

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