4/24/2013 3:24:00 PM
The Tram Star is the light that shines from the top of the Lone Peak Tram at 11,166 ft. above sea level and towers in presence over Big Sky Resort at its base and the surrounding community beyond.
If it’s not there, the clouds have ascended the peak, and perhaps a storm is brewing. If it’s crystal clear, the Tram Star outshines its fellow celestial lights as if to say, “Hey guys, this is my town.” Tram operators know there’s a light switch they can never mess with – they’d be sure to hear about it if they did.
Towns and cities across the globe have similar multi-purpose markings. For example, I went to college in Washington, DC, where the Washington Monument not only was designed as a dominating geographical reference point from throughout the city, but a thriving rumor even exists that a law prohibits architectural design within the District that would dwarf it. According to welovedc.com that law does not exist, but regardless, the monument remains the tallest structure in Washington at a height of 555 ft. There were many times during my years in DC where I might have been lost without the ability to look up to the sky and find the red beacon at its top to orient me.
The two are similar in that they both represent something bigger, our Tram Star represents the human spirit’s ever yearning quest to stand on top of the world and the Washington Monument represents our founding father’s vision for freedom, justice and liberty.
4/15/2013 10:05:00 AM
Great coverage to finish the year and a new shield to proudly wear
WHERE DID THE season go? It seems like just yesterday I was writing my first blog of the winter and getting pumped for another great season. But I guess the saying holds true; time does fly when you’re having fun.
From opening day turns and turkey to goggle tans and spring bump runs, it’s definitely been another season to remember. Lone Peak delivered as it always does and dished out its consistent cold smoke, long and smooth wind buffed runs, and gladly allowed us to bounce around its massive playground.
Powder days were plentiful with one of the snowiest Februarys that I can remember. No matter the day it seemed like the skiing was going to be great. Even starry nights were met by bluebird mornings, and sometimes to our amazement, a bountiful blanket of 18 inches of fresh for us powder hounds to enjoy. It was truly a winter of plentiful smiles, high fives and pole taps.
To top off the great snow, Big Sky had you covered with entertainment. Events and festivals like Way Alt West Fest kicked off the New Year and old favorites like Big Sky Big Grass, Dummy Jump and Pond Skim continued their reputations as guest favorites.
Then to really place a cherry on top, our guests (you) shared your exceptional experiences with OnTheSnow. The result: OnTheSnow honored us for the 2nd time in 5 years with their Visitors’ Choice Overall Best Resort in North America. Thank you for your support, it means a great deal to us to be your favorite and thank you OnTheSnow for this wonderful award, we’ll wear our badge proudly.
While our 39th winter season is sadly coming to an end, we have our 40th Anniversary to look forward to and if it’s half as good as this year it’ll surely be another to remember.
Lone Peak looking great on opening day
Marx opens for the first time November 29th
Katie and Margo from the Sales and Marketing team out having fun on the hill
Logan snacking on some powder
Consistent snow kept the resort looking fresh
Multimedia Coordinator - Chris Kamman shredding powder on the other side of the lens
Terrain Park Crew raised the bar with their offerings and care of the features
The Smash Life Banked Slalom continued to grow and brought in pro riders from around the country...and the attention of our local goats
and breathtaking sunsets
Smooth wind buff on the Peak
Andy Thorn, Drew Emmitt and Bill Nershi on stage at Big Sky Big Grass
Wet and wild time at 10th Annual Pond Skim
Another great season at Big Sky Resort
4/5/2013 10:48:00 AM
2 upcoming rippers. Watch out ski world, these boys mean business. (Noah left, Isaac right)
Dear Big Sky Social Media Fans,
I have checked out your Facebook page on numerous occasions and being a full time blogger for Solitude Mountain Resort in Utah, I found it humorous that your blogger seems to be completely incognito (I, on the other hand...am not). Really, unless you happen to be privy to your mountain’s inner workings, you might never know who is posting information about your mega resort on it’s FB page and elsewhere. Well, lucky me, I found out. He (yes, it’s a he and not a she) could very well be one of the best things at Big Sky...behind the skiing, scenery and of course, the Euro-looking Lone Mountain that looms over the valley like an extreme snowy playground just daring you to show up with your A game.
Although, some of you reading this may already be friendly with so-called blogger, I promise I am not going to expose his desire for anonymity but only share with you what he shared with a (I’ll admit it) self-absorbed skier/blogger from Utah and my crew of little men who found a new stomping ground deep in the southwest corner of Montana.
Over the past few weeks I have been continually asked why I decided to take my family to Montana for spring break to ski when I live in a state which is overrun with out-of-towner’s during March, who specifically come to Utah for world class skiing. I love Utah. I love skiing, living, and playing in the Beehive State but, every once in awhile I need the unknown, something unfamiliar and different. I need to go somewhere that gets my blood rushing and I need to ultimately step out of the Utah bubble for just a moment. Generally, this desire sends me packing to Wyoming and the steeps of the Hole but, I have begun to know that mountain like I know the Cottonwood’s and it was time for something completely foreign.
Although, flying into Bozeman was an option, the drive from Salt Lake City to Big Sky was a breeze. Five hours to West Yellowstone and another forty minutes through some of the most spectacular country in America. I wouldn’t have traded that drive for a quick flight any day. I may have traded out my two boys though...
Who knew Big Sky was so close and so accessible? I sure didn’t. I guess that is why it has taken so long for this Utah transplant to discover what you guys reading this have known about forever. Thanks to your ambiguous blogger who happens to be a little higher up the totem pole than social networker, my family and I were able to crash at the best Big Sky has to offer (although, I believe a dorm room at the hostel would have been satisfactory to have been able to ski three days at your mountain).
I know, I know, I am a bit jealous of myself even as I sit in my house looking out at the snow capped Wasatch writing this. I was just thinking this morning that I wish my boys, Noah (10) and Isaac (7), could eat at the Summit’s breakfast buffet every morning. It would save so much time and energy (for myself). That buffet killed it! It was hard to ski afterwards but, trust me...we did! In fact, most of the food we had in Big Sky was fantastical.
From here on out, I am going to refer to your completely rad blogger who ended up not only being the person behind the e-mails and text messages but who ended up being a guide, friend and even (whether he liked it or not) Isaac’s favorite play thing, as K. Bottom line is, K hooked us up (maybe not with some certain nachos) but he made our trip. Generally, I run into a small mountain office on these writing gigs of mine, say hello, shake a hand, grab some tickets, promise to send finished copies of articles written and that is that. Peace out. K became part of our experience. It was unexpected but in a perfectly good way.
I am sure I could have picked up another cute guy to show the fam around or someone else to lead my 10 year old into the Dictator Chutes or someone to race down the widest, most perfect cruisers I have ever seen, but no one would have been more successful than K. Even when K wasn’t around, he sent us off with good directions and recommendations. My husband was also impressed. Okay, this blog just got boring...he’s taken ladies. My husband and K, they are both taken. A few years and you might get lucky enough with Noah or Isaac. Keep your fingers crossed. Anyways, the bottom line is that your locals, especially K, know and love your mountain and are happy to share it with outsiders.
Some things that I learned about your neck-of-the-woods is that the town of Big Sky is MUCH smaller than I expected. This is not entirely bad as Bozeman is bigger than I anticipated and a short drive away. K says he can drive back from shopping in Bozeman and his ice cream is still frozen. I don’t necessarily buy that one. Certainly, the liquor laws are a far cry from Utah’s...I swear the beer runs freely from the taps here. I learned that although alcohol is a primary food group at Big Sky, the locals don’t seem to notice or mind the dizzying amount of white crosses that dot the roadsides. I came to Big Sky to ski BIG terrain but, bring a shovel, beacon and probe as they won’t let you into the serious stuff without it...dang (sort of). I learned that the big in Big Sky really means BIG! Who knew that there are two other skiable mountains within steps of Big Sky? Moonlight Basin and The Yellowstone Club (Although, unless your Bill Gate’s illegitimate child, you are probably not skiing the club any day soon) make this skiable playground the largest in America! Your mountain is huge in a million ways. I was also blown away by all the beginner and intermediate terrain that your mountain has to offer. Shocked...completely shocked! This mountain should be on any diverse families hit list! I learned that I couldn’t possibly ski or come to know your mountain in a measly 3 days of skiing...it is that BIG!
When it comes time to be putting the seriousness into my articles for Big Sky, I will look back and remember the fun to be had in Montana because of K.
Thank you for letting us come and explore the mountain that you love so much. We all need an entire season to really understand and explore the steeps and deeps as well as the expansive gentleness of Big Sky’s wide open spaces so, don’t be surprised to see us again someday soon.
Sincerely, Rachael Hodson
P.S. Thanks K for crushing me and putting me back in my rightful place....all that vertical....ahhhh
Noah arcing turns and laying trenches down Dictator 1
The Bowl in all it's unbumped spring wonder
Isaac and I (K) goofing around at the base
K skiing Chicken Bowl
3/15/2013 9:52:00 AM
EVERYONE LOOKS FORWARD to the joys of spring skiing. When tackling the Biggest Skiing in America there are multiple faces and aspects to deal with. Think about finding the good snow early and chasing the sun is key to having a great experience. While the weekend forecast is calling for more snow and cooler temps, the last few days of spring like weather encourage a quick overview of how to follow the sun around our giant Peak.
First thing in the morning (9-10:30am) seek out fresh groomers, head for either Southern Comfort or Mr. K and Upper and Lower Morning Star. These fresh groomed runs will offer a great opportunity to get your legs under you before heading elsewhere. The sun will be shining almost directly on the runs and the snow will still be fast, enjoy.
Mid-morning (10:30am-noon) start heading for more groomed runs down either Elk Park Ridge (off Ramcharger/Thunderwolf) or venturing into the Bowl/other off-piste areas around the Triple Chair. By this time, the sun have softened the snow up enough to be playful and carvable and is the ideal spot to get your legs going just a bit more before venturing up the Tram.
Early afternoon (noon-2:30pm) is a great time of day to head for the The Lone Peak Tram or tackle some of the gladed/back bowls in the Shedhorn and Dakota areas. When the weather permits, the southern facing aspects off the tram will “corn up” and provide an unmatched soft snow experience with over 1,500 vertical feet of above tree line skiing.
Late afternoon (2:30-4 or on a Saturday, 5pm) head back to the lower mountain to finish the day off playing around once again on Andesite and Swift Current. Be sure to head for Andesite on Saturdays when you can ski Ramcharger until 5pm and celebrate the extra hour of daylight.
While spring kindly poked its head in to say hello, winter weather is once again in the forecast so pack some layers because she’s coming back for an encore. See you on the hill!
3/12/2013 5:29:00 PM
The Shedhorn Grill was the place to be for lunch last Saturday as the sun kept everybody on the deck nice and warm
Last weekend I had the opportunity to show three former college roommates around Big Sky Resort for an awesome day of skiing and sunshine. The four of us have a long history of skiing together, mostly on the East Coast where we went to school. While I am used to tram laps and hiking to find the powder stashes, my buddies are for the most part intermediate skiers, and I was looking forward to giving them the full mountain tour.
We started our day at the Moonlight Lodge where they purchased Biggest Skiing in America tickets. After a few cruisers at Moonlight, we made our way to the Mountain Village base area just as the sun really started to shine. After a quick run down Calamity Jane, we headed up Andesite to chase the sun. We started with the wide open feel of Ponderosa down to the Southern Comfort lift, then enjoyed the perfect corduroy down Bighorn and Elk Park Ridge. Feeling hungry, we ripped down Tippy’s to the base area, up Swiftcurrent and then down Cow Flats over to the bottom of Shedhorn.
With the peak looming above, we enjoyed a leisurely and delicious lunch in the sun at the Shedhorn Grill, then I tested their skills down Larkspur and Jock Strap. We did two laps in the Sunlight Bowl—easily the best turns of the day in the soft, springy snow—before taking the Duck Walk all the way over to the Triple Chair. We did two quick laps in the Bowl and Upper Morning Star, before finishing the day with some fun turns down Lower Morning Star and Mr. K.
After getting in nearly 24,000 vertical feet, the East Coast boys were beat, but not too tired to enjoy some well-deserved beers on the deck at the Carabiner to end the day. The next day they were on a plane back home, and I was relishing in the fact that I am able to live in this amazing place we call Big Sky.
Brian Hurlbut is the author of the Insider’s Guide to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks (Globe-Pequot Press) and Montana: Skiing the Last Best Place (Great Wide Open Press). In addition to previous positions as the Managing Editor for the Big Sky Sun and the Arts and Entertainment Editor for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, his writing has appeared in the Oregonian, Montana Quarterly, Montana Magazine, Luxury Living, Big Sky Journal, Yellowstone-Teton Country, Big Sky Magazine, Western Art and Architecture, Outside Bozeman and more. He lives in Big Sky, Montana.
Kevin Bailey enjoys the soft snow down Sunlight with Lone Peak looking above
3/6/2013 10:07:00 PM
WHEN IT COMES to conquering mountains, Lone Peak is one hell of a monster to take on. Whether you’re tackling on the steeps of Challenger or the high alpine exposed terrain from atop Lone Mountain’s 11,166 ft. summit, Big Sky is sure to challenge. So when my friend Johnny who was visiting said he was up to task, I gladly agreed to show him the ins and outs of what makes Big Sky BIG.
Day 1: Having never skied off the summit we first tackled Liberty Bowl. While the peak was socked in, we navigated our way through the snow fences and straight to the gut. I informed him to follow the green dots down and to use them as a point of reference. The powder was deep and after reconvening at the bottom, I knew Johnny was thrilled by his trademark large grin. We ventured on to the base and finished our day poking around the lower mountain in the trees chasing powder.
Day 2: Having had a taste of what Lone Peak offered, Johnny wanted more. Since he had already checked off Marx with another friend of ours the day before, we decided the best next step would be to take on Lenin. While offering the same southern aspect as Marx, Lenin is steeper with a bit more of a pinch than what most vacationing skiers are used to, but that didn’t stop Johnny. He confidently took it on as if we were skiing Mr. K and once again show up at the bottom (maybe a bit more out of breath than other Mr. K) with another huge grin.
Final Day: Still wanting more, Johnny requested that we seek the peak once again in hopes of checking off one more steep, technical run. After having seen the Dictators while skiing Lenin a few days prior, we set our sights on D1. With a storm quickly moving in, we headed straight for the tram. Traversing from the top of Lenin we made our way to the top D1. Looking down the rock walled run we pointed our tips downhill and went for it. Johnny precisely navigated his way down and we met up just above the traverse to Lenin. Pole taps/high fives were a given and of course Johnny’s smile accompanied them.
We next ventured to Challenger to check off the final steeps that Johnny hadn’t skied yet. Once again Johnny killed and we headed for the base. Sending Johnny on his way wishing him safe travels back to LA, we exchanged hugs, a few fist bumps, and of course the plan to take on the rest of the peak next year.
Interested in checking out some of these great spots? Look into the mountain guide program offered through Mountain Sports School.
3/3/2013 2:48:00 PM
Skier: Dan Herby Photo: Freeride Media
CONSISTENT SNOWFALL, FREE refills and good friends have made for an amazing few weeks here at Big Sky Resort. Whether it’s a fresh 6 inches overnight or a bluebird day with knee deep recirculated powder, the mountain has been skiing great.
While entertaining Freeride Media earlier this week, we were treated to soft snow off the peak and a bluebird day to remember. Joined by skiing legends and a stellar film crew that not only can shoot but also rip, we roamed the mountain in search of the perfect shots. Finding excellent steeps through the Dictators off the Tram and fantastic gladed shots in Dude Park off the Shedhorn lift, we compiled a ton of footage that’s sure to please.
Interested in checking out some of these great spots? Look into the mountain guide program offered through Mountain Sports School. Or if you want to see more of these great photos here are 2 albums from their visit: Day 1, Day 2.
Skier: Desiree' Leipham Photo: Freeride Media
Skier: Scott Evans Photo: Freeride Media
Skiers: Dan Herby and Dan Egan Photo: Freeride Media
Skier: Tommy Frey Photo: Freeride Media
Skier: Kipp Proctor Photo: Freeride Media
2/27/2013 6:02:00 PM
Ski trips can be rather daunting; between the travel time, lesson sign up and gear gathering, honestly, I cannot understand how people have the energy to ski. As a ski instructor at Big Sky, one of the main pieces of equipment commonly over looked is ski boots. People get rental gear, not quite certain on how boots should fit and head out on to the hill. Here are a few tips on picking boots and what to look for.
First, ski boots should fit snug, not to the point the foot falls asleep or cuts off the circulation, but so the foot does not move around inside the boot, this can affect performance. The boot should feel snug around the foot conforming to the heel, arch and toes. There should be absolutely no lateral movement in the foot and the cuff should be tight around the lower shin allowing for limited range of motion in the ankle.
Finding good rental boots can be challenging. Obviously, rental boots are made to fit a wide variety of people. If you ski two or three days in a year, rental boots are the way to go; but if you come out and ski a least a week every year purchasing boots can be beneficial to both fit and skiing performance. It is the constant in your ski trip and familiar. It can also help streamline a trip if you just need skis and poles.
Bottom line, ski boots are the most important piece of ski equipment so whether you are renting or buying take the information above into consideration . Use the resources at the resort and if taking a lesson, instructors will more than likely take a look at your foot wear. If they don’t, ask for their advice.
I am Brenna Kelleher and that’s the way I ski it!