“I’m about to drop into TU!” my friend Jeff yells to me through the phone as I sit on Swifty. I look up and see a few faint specs above the cornice far lookers left of the gullies. I wish my buddy luck in his venture down one of Big Sky’s steepest and most exposed routes down Lone Peak and hang up the phone. A few seconds later I see Jeff drop in over the ridge, make about 4 high speed risky turns and then with a puff of smoke he goes down just above the rocks. His ski pops off as he continues to slide. Luckily, Jeff keeps his composure and is able to grab his ski and stop himself from sliding into the sheer, rocky face below. He gets himself together and weaves his way through the constriction at the bottom of TU and I meet him at the Triple chair. Unfazed, Jeff laughs about his close-encounter with Lone Peak’s rocky steeps as we make our way to the Tram.
We walked onto the first tram that came down and boarded it with a large crew of Tram Line regulars including Shane and Nate. A group of about five of us headed down the typical route for a day with no tram line: Otter Slide to Marx to Gullies and out at Crons. The wind had been blowing around the snow from the previous storm, filling in the tracks and giving the powder a new life. I lapped the Gullies three times with the same loosely defined crew and then decided to test out Lenin. Lenin was just as carvable as the gullies and offered consistent snow conditions from top to bottom.
That was yesterday; today I met up with Big Sky employees Eric, Dan and Jason in the tram line. They were headed to the Dakota Bowl and asked me if I would like to join them, and of course I did. We cut across the top of Liberty and entered through the gate. The top of the bowl was a little windblown but fun nonetheless. Towards the bottom the snow became nice and soft, allowing us to really open up our turns. We then cut skiers right below the Kircher Cliffs where we found some nice pockets of powder and Dan even busted a line through a narrow little chute. After our trip out to Dakota I split with the crew and went up for some more tram laps. The clouds and snow rolled in just as I was getting back up, creating some rather extreme conditions. A took a few laps riding up in empty tram cars and then coming down Marx and the Dictator Chutes. After four runs on the upper mountain I admitted defeat to Lone Peak and headed back to work; worn out and completely satisfied.
See you out there,