Ben Brosseau drops into four day old, untouched powder
IT WAS A cold, crisp day with the sun just breaking through the mid-day clouds when I met up with Erik Morrison, a fellow snowboarder/filmmaker and an overall asset to the local ski community. Earlier in the week Big Sky was drowning in some of the deepest powder of the season after a freak, un-forecasted snowstorm dropped well over a foot in 24 hours. But this was four days after the storm. On a mission to get some footage for the Big Sky Powder Network (BSPN), I couldn't help but think that we may be wasting our time. There couldn't still be fresh turns worth filming, could there?
Setting out, our prospects looked bleak. But Erik led us over towards Andesite to a spot he had a feeling about –he thought it may just have a few patches of still untracked snow. The plan was for him to head over to the promising meadow and wait while I traversed around to the opposite ridge where I could hopefully get a long shot of him shredding. We parted, and as I reached the top of the ridge my view opened up: there was Erik, a tiny dark spec perched above a massive powder field. There were maybe three tracks throughout the entire expanse.
This wasn’t just a tiny leftover powder stash, this was the real deal, and I gave Erik the go ahead to start riding. I filmed as he made high speed smooth turns, a big slash, and finally a butter three before he went out of view into the woods. Looking through my camera lens, I felt a jolt of excitement. We’d found this pristine snow tucked away among tracked-out runs, and I could tell this was turning out to be a great shot. Watching those turns, I felt the thrill as if I were riding the snow myself.
Now alone on the far ridge and traversing above some small cliffs, I noticed a flash of blue ahead of me. It was my buddy Ben Brosseau scouting out cliff lines with local Pro Mike Mannelin. I caught up with them, rode a tiny pillow line to get into a proper filming position, and watched as Ben and Mike dropped a cliff, side stepped up, and dropped another. Mike even threw a nice 360 off his last hit. This was good stuff, but we needed to head over that meadow Erik had just ripped down. “Follow me,” I said.
Now back with Erik, we stopped above the powder field to plan out where we wanted to film, but it all looked good. I dropped in first to get into position and on the way hit a wind lip. 360 degrees later, my cheeks hit cold snow. Face plant! But there was enough powder that I was able to pull my head out of the hole I had created and continue with no consequence. Erik Morrison was next and I filmed as he pointed it towards the exact same wind lip that I had just face planted off of and launched into a massive back flip, landing it with ease. Typical. He continued down, spraying up powder with every turn while Mike and Ben hooted and hollered in the background.
Camera out, I then focused in on Ben and Mike as they both made flawlessly smooth powder turns towards me. We all agreed that we needed to do it one more time – ours were still the only real tracks on the meadow.
The rest of the day brought more pow shots, more airs, and more fun as we celebrated our four-day-old powder find. We all know that Big Sky is the Biggest Skiing In America, but it’s days like this that the true expanse sinks in: new snow or not, 2,000 daily skiers just can’t hit all of the powder. Next time I go out to shoot a video I won’t wonder if it’s worth it, because at Big Sky there really is always something fresh and fun to ski.
Erik Morrison and Mike Mannelin get fresh tracks four days after the storm