Two weeks ago, myself and a couple others decided to mob down to Preston to see what kind of terrain is there and what the snow conditions were like. Two weeks ago was just before the big dump of powder that Dan was talking about in his “Epic” post. Preston didn't disappoint, we didn't find heaven-like conditions but we found likable terrain and favorable snow.
The early birds in the group had us leaving by 6:30 in order to get a ‘jump' on things. The whole trip down we were driving through fog and other elements as Mother Nature tried snowin' and blowin'. After several minutes of driving, we were on the trail and riding. After hopping off the trail we worked our way deeper into the area. It was great to find all the valleys and ravines offering untouched powder and technical climbs. If you're wondering what preston is like it is real similar to the woodland-soapstone area in utah as far as technical levels go.
The area's look reminds me of the Tony Grove area outside of Logan, Utah but Preston isn't as extreme. For the Idaho boys who haven't ridden there, it reminds me of Jefferson and possibly Lionshead but is more of a Two Top difficulty or a little more difficult than the bone area. All in all, the area is just fun, you can find some nice technical climbs through the trees and get some medium steep areas, but again, the tree riding is great.
There's no sense in mincing words, but the snow wasn't anywhere even close to what is should be for mid January. If you were quite imaginitive, you could stretch the snow depth to maybe be 4.0 to 4.5 feet of snow on the “north side of the hill, in the shade and its a drift” type of optimism. Of course, one thing has to be said, despite low snow level, the quality of the snow was great. It seemed everywhere we went was phenomenol powder. Not that grainy sugar stuff but that consistent powder that had good moisture content that was slightly setup. The snow would let you get around a bit but gave you some great over-the-hood powder and some great powder turns.
The trip to Preston was a great trip, considering the time of year and the poor snow situation everything turned out fantastic. The riders I went with and the country we saw and the condition of the snow made it all worth while.