A GIRL from the very flat country of England, I learned quickly upon my arrival in Montana two years ago that mountains are made for skiing. Lone Peak is the perfect specimen, and even after moving away from Big Sky and traveling the world for a year and a half, I found myself drawn back to that towering, solitary mountain for my vacation this winter.
Back on the slopes after such a long hiatus, I wasn't all that surprised when my boyfriend of five years suggested we head up to the top of the mountain when we were out skiing last week: bluebird skies, an almost empty tram line, and knee-deep powder were calling our names. Paul is an excellent skier who mastered pretty much every run at Big Sky during his time living here, but my more modest abilities meant that I wasn't sure my legs were up to a tram run after just two days on the slopes this season. Still, Paul was adamant that we at least take a scenic ride up to take a panoramic photo. Now that we live elsewhere, it's hard to explain to people just how beautiful it is out here, so taking a couple of pictures from the top on a gorgeous sunny day seemed like a pretty good idea.
But something felt amiss. Paul seemed strangely reluctant when I tried to persuade him to bring his gear up in case he felt like skiing rather than taking the tram back down. We caught up with an old friend, William, in the line, and I saw him lean in to whisper something to Paul – what was so secret? “Give it five minutes,” Paul said in an undertone. Were they perhaps talking about the weather? Before I knew it we were being ushered into the tram car and whizzing up to the peak. At the top – could it be the dazzling sun? My imagination? - William gave Paul a slightly strange look as we parted.
Stepping onto the summit of Lone Peak, the strange feelings passed: I forgot everything and just stood in awe of my absolutely spectacular surroundings. This place is called Big Sky for a reason, and that reason is clear when you see the massive blue expanse fan out around you from what feels like the top of the world. We stood, cameras in hands, gazing at the view and taking pictures of the snowy mountaintops. The sun was shining brightly and it was so clear you could almost see as far as the Tetons.
Knowing that we would have to head back down soon, I turned around towards Paul, and as I faced him I found that he was no longer holding a camera, but a diamond ring! My heart still pounding from the view (was it from the view?), Paul asked me to marry him at the summit of the Lone Peak.
We may not be able to move mountains, but mountains are certainly capable of moving us – moving us to live near them, climb up them, and ski down them. They move us to take risks, ski hard lines, drop big cliffs, and, in the most special cases, even drop down on one knee to propose marriage. Up on Lone Peak, I could feel the mountain moving me as well – moving me towards Paul and towards my future as I responded an enthusiastic “Yes.”
- Jenny Rowe, TWISI guest writer and former Big Sky snow reporter
Paul and me, newly engaged, on the way back down the tram.