Schedules finally worked out for me to join Big Sky's two famous voices of the snow report for some laps on the mountain, who knew a surprise storm would take the tour to a whole new level. I told them from day one they're expected to explore the mountains on a regular basis in order to provide the most accurate reports each morning. Luckily there hasn't been any issues with both Steven and Brady rarely missing a moment on the mountain.
We met in the base area early in the afternoon and rolled up Swift Current, it was snowing lightly but we had no idea what was in store for our tour. We spun a lap down Great White to Rice Bowl then over to Buffalo Jump. It's one of my favorite runs, but Steven explores on a snowboard and there are some flatter transitions that reminded me that we should be thinking more vertical and less horizontal.
The best answer for that is to get over to Challenger Chair, which offers tons of different fall lines that carry plenty of pitch. By now, the snow storm was picking up some energy, but not necessarily enough to make a difference. We skied Outer Limits first and found soft snow through the trees. Plus I got to offer a bit of a tester on the steep, tight ski out near the cliffs that both snow reporters handled easily.
We loaded up the lift and by now, it was truly snowing . . . hard. I wish I wouldn't have knocked the snow off the chair half-way up, because at the top an inch had landed and I was curious of how much fell during only one chair ride. Nevertheless, it was piling up fast and it was definitely noticeable on Upper Highway. By now the legs were really warmed up to pick up some speed on the soft snow as I did my first of many 17th Green laps in 2008.
At the bottom, the liftie was recognizing our widening grins with lap after lap and we ran into another office friend Victor, perfect timing as it evened up our team for the venerable double chair. We kept going, exploring Midnight Trees, along with BRT North. We repeated a few of the more choice lines, but each time was like the first chair with the snow re-loading between each trip.
We got to the bottom of Challenger at 3:56 to be met by Ody, the patroller sweeping the last chair to squeeze in a final lap on what ended up being an epic powder afternoon. I suspect a worthy snow report in the morning.
We'll see you out there,