Summer Stashes: Vasu Sojitra escapes the crowds off Beartooth Highway

By now most skiers have accepted summer’s arrival in all its warmth and glory. But while some may be hanging up their gear for the season, high in the mountains remain a few dedicated souls who are still chasing turns. This summer, we will talk with a few of these die-hards about their favorite “summer stashes” that take them to the hills while they wait for the next snowfall.

All summer long, we will add to the growing list of places where you can find snowy terrain to beat the heat. This week, we talked with Vasu Sojitra who spent Memorial Day weekend in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana.

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Sojitra gives summer a warm welcome as he makes his way down from the Beartooth Highway. [Photo] Brendan Henry

Location: Beartooth Mountains, Montana
Team: Vasu Sojitra, Brendan Henry, Bri Baker
Summit Elevation: 10,947 feet
Prime Time: After Beartooth Highway opens for easier access
Descent Date: Memorial Day weekend

The Pass from Vasu Sojitra on Vimeo.

“Hanging out with your friends, drinking beer and eating good food,” is how Vasu Sojitra—an adaptive freeskier—describes his three-day weekend in the Beartooths. Beartooth Highway, which opened Memorial Day weekend, gives access to terrain that no longer requires a lengthy approach. “The cool thing is, people have snowmobiles on their trailers and are like, ‘Yeah, just jump on,’” says Sojitra about the hitchhiking.

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Sojitra experiences freedom in the hills. [Photo] Brendan Henry

Despite the fun commute, Sojitra and his friends had a longer approach in some areas, “It’s all moss and small bushes, then there’s also some patches of snow here and there that haven’t melted out.” And the conditions? “Corn—some rotten, just because it’s going through a freeze-thaw cycle, but it doesn’t really freeze at night for the most part anymore,” says Sojitra.

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Sojitra charges forward on spring corn. [Photo] Brendan Henry

Sojitra recalls one particularly memorable moment while skiing just off the side of the access road. “I almost lost my ski. I dropped it and it just started sliding down the hill. I thought it was gone forever [until] my friend found it.”

And while Memorial Day can be a busy time in the backcountry, with a little effort peace and quiet can be obtained.

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Sojitra salutes the Montana mountains with a raised outrigger. [Photo] Brendan Henry

“Those lines right off the road get really crowded,” says Sojitra of the skier-traffic. “That’s not what me and my friends are about, so we went deeper into the backcountry and tried to get away from people.”

Do you have a “Summer Stashes” adventure worth sharing? Submit your story, photos and video to intern2@backcountrymagazine.com.

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