wife and i decided on a quick getaway for some x-country skiing in the Absarokas; we like staying at Chico Hot Springs in the Paradise Valley as there is nothing like a good, hot soak after skiing we took off early in the morning, only to find out two hours into the trip that we forgot our suitcase we took stock on what we had and barring swim suits we still had most everything we needed for skiing (our day packs made it in!). stopped in Billings and the wife found a suit, I didn't have as much luck and decided I'd just go in my merino boxers a couple of toothbrushes and some toothpaste and we were GTG! we hit the Snowbank trailhead at ~ 1:00 PM and figured we'd have 4 solid hours of skiing, we skied about five miles up a trail that gains about 1200' of elevation- it takes about 3 hours going up and less than an hour coming down near the top made it back to the hot springs around 6-ish, got a good long soak and a bite to eat fashioned a boot drying rack on a clothes rack in the room (portable boot drier was in the suitcase) got up early the next morning and partook in their all you can eat breakfast- they have a wonderful cook(s) on staff there and their meals never disappoint- whole wheat strawberry/white chocolate hot cakes, crisp bacon, seasoned ham, scrambled eggs w/ some fancy mushrooms and cheese- had a bowl of their in house granola and yogurt for dessert! we skied Suce Ck the next day, it said easy to moderate on a site I read, but they are full of ! the trailhead looks innocuous enough, but soon the trail drops and drops quickly, the drop is severe enough, combined w/ some rather packed and fast snow that I found myself on my a half dozen times before getting to the bottom. my wife being the smarter of the two clipped out after dumping a couple of times and hiked down to the bottom once to the bottom where the creek was, the going was much better, still some pretty technical stuff here and there, but much better made it home about 5:00 PM, sore and bruised, but happy! the Talon 11 is just about as small as you can go for winter pack, I previously used a Talon 22 but wanted to push things a bit and with some careful packing I make it work- use a 2 liter hydrafoam bladder- the hydrafoam gives the pack a little rigidity which is nice. In the bottom of the pack goes a AMK thermal bivy, 1/8" ccf pad, 2 person heatsheet, 3 small beeswax candles, mid-weight down parka, mitten shells, fleece bavaclava- on top of that in the main pocket goes food; the front pocket I carry a small snow shovel- almost like it was made for it , the the hip pockets goes my camera, sunscreen, few snacks, the top pockets goes a FAK, small fire kit, headlamp, repair kit, TP, four chemical hand warmers, map/compass- the side stretch pockets goes a pair of googles on one side and then fleece mittens or gloves depending on which are on my hands at the time.