Part of me feels unoriginal and predictable in writing about things to be thankful for on Thanksgiving Day. However, I actually do have a lot to be thankful for and why not take at least one day a year to write those things down. I am thankful for:
1) Opening Day! Today is opening day at Big Sky Resort. Get out there and ride with us.
2) Snow. Perhaps snow should be first on the list, as one can't have an opening day at a ski resort without it, but I am so thankful we are open for skiing once again. I have a pen pal in Fortaleza, Brazil, who has never seen snow. It is so hard for me to imagine her life-a life without snow. I see and play in snow every winter, and have a job thanks to snow, yet I am always surprised by it and thankful for it.
Photo: Ryan Day Thompson
3) My family. They are always ready with a good joke after I've had a rough day.
4) My Big Sky Resort family. Not only do I have an amazing job, but I have great teammates and managers. The managers at Big Sky Resort truly care about where I am headed in my job position and in my career. This isn't something that happens everywhere and it is easy to take for granted so I am thankful for this great team at Big Sky Resort.
5) Skiing. Enough said.
6) Big Sky Resort purchasing Moonlight Basin. I can't wait to ski Moonlight Basin all the time this winter. I respect and thank all those involved in the merger who have a vision for Lone Peak and the Big Sky Community.
7) A sense of humor. This can really help an office and a small resort community when stress is high. Something as little as a team member pranking every team member in the office with a plastic cockroach. Of course if we had cockroaches in Montana it might be a different story.
8) The lack of cockroaches in Montana.
9) Montana Wildlife. Even in winter you might see a Big Horn Sheep or a Pine Marten.
10) Pumpkin Pie (with a dollop of Cool Whip).
I have much more to be thankful for, but enough writing, it's time to give thanks out on the mountain.
Snow and sunshine simultaneously warm and cool the world around us. We get those much sought-after, fabulous goggle tan lines from the sun and snow. We pray for snow every day of the season, yet welcome the sun when it shines through. With less than a week until Opening Day at Big Sky Resort, enjoy the sun and snow in this video and then join us on Thanksgiving Day for the first of many times we get to turn ‘em down hill this season.
Video: Chris Kamman
We all know the smell. Every year we welcome it with open arms. It hits my face as soon as I step outside of my house, and I look up as if someone just smacked me across the cheek ... Ahh yes-the smell of winter.
It's crisp, it's cold, and it even stings a bit. But it isn't a hostile sting; it's a sting that gets my blood flowing and snowflakes fluttering in my stomach. The excitement builds in an instant and the next thing I know there's a big, goofy smile on my face and a burst of questions racing through my mind: is it cold enough to snow? When will the first snowfall be? Is it going to be a good winter?-Yes! Where in the world did I put all of my ski gear? Why haven't I bought new skis yet?!
Time seems to drag on and then ... snow! It's a few inches of big, beautiful flakes that are a universal symbol for all snow sport addicts: ski season. The madness begins and ski fever spreads to every skier and boarder in the northern hemisphere. I immediately break out all of last year's ski movies and make plans to attend every premiere of the new ones. I pull out all of my ski gear, maybe put on my ski boots for good measure, even though we all know they haven't changed a bit since being put away for the summer, and I make a list of all the new gear I'll "need" for the season. After the list making I head into my local ski shop (Big Sky Sports, perhaps) to get a tune and stock up on all the new goodies.
It's usually right after that first snowfall that the dreams begin; dreams of waist deep powder turns with my friends, dropping off cornices, sailing through the trees, and having the whole mountain to myself. Only to wake up disappointed in my bed, craving for more.
The countdown has reached single digits my friends. Only six more days until we all can unite and celebrate the best season and sport in the world. Here in Big Sky we're getting hit with snowstorms blanketing Lone Mountain, Spirit Mountain, Andesite, and Flat Iron in a fresh coat of white. Opening Day is looking pretty good. Now that Big Sky Resort is combined with Moonlight Basin it is sure to be an amazing year. Whether it's ripping groomers, hiking the Headwaters, or finding fresh powder off the tram - we really have it all.
Whether it's time to plan a family ski trip or just get out there and shred as a local, ski season is only 10 days away for Big Sky Resort. Reflecting on that epic '11-'12 winter, we use the past to look forward to the future. Enjoy...
Perhaps it is bizarre to even review ski movies. Rarely are viewers seeking out ski movie reviews to make sure the film will have enough big mountain, enough street segments, or enough hits by People Under the Stairs. None of that matters ... until now.
With the onset of millennial movie-making comes this need to search for a greater significance in this post-9/11, post-Columbine world the Millennials grew up in. As Powder Magazine's John Stifter puts it: Can a ski movie format answer the search for meaning...the search for childlike harmony in this modern, ever-connected world we live in? Can Valhalla director Nick Waggoner make a ski movie with a drama screenplay format? In this case, that's not really for me to decide. I found Waggoner's Valhalla a refreshing, albeit explorative, take on the ski movie. With skinny, unshaven hippies at its narrative core and skiing, riding and discovering nature at its heart, Valhalla was entertaining and fun. This is not the average ski movie, but it provided covetous lines slowed down to a speed of pure emotion.
The mountains have beckoned us all over the years for various reasons and in various directions. Valhalla explores one of those reasons and a few of those directions by showing a narrative of a man who may tap into the occasional "experimental" realm of self-exploration, but above all he taps into skiing, snow and nature to find that deeper meaning in life.
I'm not going to lie and say this ski film is for everyone. If I were to see one ski film this year it might not even be this one, but Valhalla is beautiful in its experimental journey toward finding something unknown amongst the known. I ski dozens of days a year, but do I take away something new each day? Perhaps I should.
My takeaway from Valhalla: I may know how to ski, but do I really know myself when I am skiing? And is it possible to ever really know the mountain, especially Lone Mountain and her brethren Andesite, Flat Iron and Spirit, even though I call it my home?
The place I call home.
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