2/1/2010 8:03:00 PM
In reality the similarities between a trip to Big Sky and the movie "Vacation" are few and far between. At least for this family.
There's not a big moose out front telling you, "Sorry folks, ski hill's closed." And you don't have to take a lift operator hostage and force him to fire up the quads.
Quite the opposite this week.
All the lifts were running and a little bit of snow fell almost every night. Then a whole bunch of snow -- fell on three consecutive days. No one's (not even John Candy) going to get sick jetting around the mountains on that.
No need to plunk a few quarters into a vibrating bed and popping open a bottle of champagne. The mood was set by watching illuminated snow flakes flutter down through the lights from the night sky, then blasting over and through them the next day.
The booming explosions each morning to set off avalanches are far enough away that they won't cause deafness. The mother-in-law didn't bring her rabid dog along to mistakenly be left attached to the car bumper when we drove off. If you take a wrong turn you don't end up in a rough neighborhood.
The buses, of course, get you were you need to be on time. Being late, however, isn't a problem since lift lines are non-existant and you can't not get enough runs in.
No one even asked me to loan them some money and offered some tacky, white shoes in exchange. Dangle some stylin' white-framed sunglasses on the other hand and I might float someone a few bucks.
In the end it's hard to go wrong on a vacation to Big Sky or any ski hill for that matter. Afterall, if there's not snow, there's apres skiing. If it's too cold, there's apres skiing. If you're pooped out, there's apres skiing. You can even apres ski before it's apres.
Yes, all good things must come to an end and so I leave you with this:
Clark Griswold: I just want you to ask yourself one thing. If you were... if you were me, wouldn't you do the same thing for your children?
Roy Walley (amusement park owner): No.
Tom Stuber worked for 18 years at the Helena Independent Record and is on a permanent vacation from that job.