West of Florence Montana and accessed by a forest service road, Sweeney
Peak has some good ski terrain despite its distant approach. The road
is not gated but given good snow conditions will snow in by early winter.
Drive your vehicle as far as you can. From the trailhead follow the
trail a couple miles to the vicinity of the spring where it intersects
the ridge. From there leave the trail and follow the ridge west gaining
elevation until you reach the open country above a nice steep northeast
facing bowl. Continue up the ridge until the rocky ridge makes further
progress a hiking, mountaineering matter.
From here there are great views of the northern Bitterroots especially
the south side of Lolo Peak and the north face of St Josephs peak.
Further out the Sweeney ridge to the west is another fine southeast
bowl that intersects the trail about 1500 feet below the ridge. Looking
west into Idaho the checkerboard paterrn of old clearcuts is evident
on the Plum Creek timberlands.
Skiing the northeast bowl off the summit ridge is a steep descent into
a hanging bowl of subalpiine larch glades. Ski the fall line for as
far as you like before hiking back up to the ridge for a return to the
vehicles. There is a lower traverse from the bottom of the bowl. It
traverses steep slopes and then rounds a subridge into the east facing
steep bowl that is the closest ski terrain to the valley on this nice
ridgeline. At just over 9000 Sweeney peak skiing goes late into the
season and expect to have powdery conditions if its not wind spanked
well into April and even May.