Skiing every month for 10 consecutive years can separate a man from his peers, and even from his wife.
“She said ‘No’ when I asked if she wanted to go on Oct. 20,” Craig Moore said. So the 37-year-old outdoor photographer set out alone to reach his milestone of skiing at least once a month for 120 consecutive months within 100 miles of his home in Whitefish, Montana.
“Having a goal is a good excuse to go skiing in October. Sometimes you need an excuse.”
August, September and October have been the biggest challenges to his monthly resolve through the years. They’re generally outside the call of purely fun pursuits or even his photo assignments for publications such as Men’s Journal, Powder and National Geographic magazines.
“I could find a dozen people to go today,” he said on Tuesday, looking out a window into his yard at a new dump of fresh November snow. “There’s 28 inches of frickin’ awesome snow at Whitefish Mountain.
“But even though I get a ton of support from my friends and wife, you can’t really expect them always to be thrilled about giving up a day to ski on icy, crappy snow (in the questionable months).
“I do it for me,” he said. “Skiing can be a wonderful social thing, but at the end of the day I ski because I like the sensation of sliding down a hill. I’ll seek out that enjoyment with or without a friend.”
Finding skiable snow in September was easy a few years ago when a 3-foot dump smothered the east side of Glacier National Park. This September was sketchy, but he got it done in the park near Lunch Creek. Moore documented the notch in his record with a photo showing white tracks carved in a bank of snow coated with a dingy film of summer dust and wildfire ash.
“With all the crap and exposed rocks, it would be like sliding down a cheese grater if you fall,” he said.
Around hanging glaciers and other extreme terrain he explores every year, falling is not an option.
He set the 120-month mark in October by driving high onto Werner Peak, skinning up and climbing a few hundred vertical feet on a road before linking Telemark turns. He followed crusted drifts in meadows where still-standing beargrass stalks resembled a crop of corn.
Then he gritted his teeth for the last stretch back down the icy, rutted road. “It was a little like a luge run of death,” he said.
“I have old, disposable tele skis I use for that. You don’t need the big powder…