The conservation of morale

The law of the conservation of morale in skiing (LOTCOMIS) holds true to Lavoisier’s work on mass and energy: it is a closed system.  Over the life of a skier, LOTCOMIS states that for every day of clear trails, good snow, and good glide, there must be an equal and opposite amount of skid and stick, breakable crust, and blowdown.

Mphoto.  Chuck the skis, then climb on through.

We were on the wrong end of things yesterday.  Low moisture snow falling from a warm sky on cold crust gripped poorly and glided worse.  And we had blowdown.  Lots of it.

Dealing with snags on skis is not an art, but it is a skillset which only goes smoothly if practiced.  When to take off the pack, when to take off the skis, when to go under, when to go around, when to side step, when to diagonal, when to go straight-on: all things most quickly and easily decided from extensive past experience.

Thankfully we only had one snag big enough for ski-hucking.

We had lots like this, which test flexibility and agility, and the ability to judge how deep to bend.


Slow, but good exercise.

The more extensive, compound blowdowns require strategy.

While others just require flexibility and ski-body awareness.

We did have plenty of stretches of open trail, and the consistent snowfall added atmosphere to an outing which we expected to be just another unicloud shrouded winter day in the Flathead.

PS: Read Ike’s trip report on BPL, it’s really good.


  1. That’s why I always carry a little saw. Cutting off the branches makes it much easier to go over or under. It looks like you managed to cut or break your way through just fine.

    1. Its the old road that goes out to the Middle Fork/North Fork confluence (aka Old Flathead ranger station). The inside North Fork normally has much less deadfall.

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