Getting ready for the next day's adventures starts today ... at the Solace Spa and Salon. Upon my second visit to Big Sky Resort's Spa, this time to get those unruly bangs out of my eyes, I noticed two great things: 1) Going to the spa is relaxing and refreshing no matter where you schedule it in your day and 2) I've never had a hair stylist who I can ask about split ends, and about shredding the Big Couloir.
Having just come from work, a scalp rub, shampoo and trim was as relaxing as a massage might have been. Don't underestimate the power of just letting someone else do your hair. I also find a good facial just before a haircut relaxing. Opening up the pores after a long day exposed to the sun or sitting in an office makes me feel cleaner. The atmosphere at the Solace Salon is vastly different from what you'll find at a salon in New York or LA. Not to say that blasting Madonna, celebrity gossip and waiting hours for your appointment aren't what we've grown to love and expect from salons, but at Solace Salon the quieter, folksy guitar tunes, powder stash gossip, and on-time appointments make for a pleasant trip to the hair stylist and ensure that I'll be going back.
After the stunning hair cut from Sarah, I ventured into the chilly fall temperatures for an evening outside. Normally I would make sure to schedule a haircut before a night out or schedule spa day after a day of activities, it turns out a trip to the spa does wonders no matter where you put it in your day.
Get ready to look amazing this winter season at Big Sky Resort.
ESPN defines an ultramarathon as any running race longer than the traditional marathon (26.2 miles). Ultramarathoners experience black toenails, twitchy legs, runny noses, headaches, side-stitches, sleep deprivation, and Crepitus (cracking knees). Ultramarathoners also may suffer from missing loved ones and the desire to keep pushing oneself. So why do they do it?
Marshal Ulrich, an ultra-marathon runner known for having pulled out his toenails so he could perform at a higher level, has also asked himself that question. His answer is complex enough to fill an entire book (Running on Empty: An Ultramarathoner's Story of Love, Loss and a Record Setting Run Across America), but the short answer is: "survivor's guilt and a need to punish myself, to prove myself, to face down my own mortality, to defy death. But my running is also a reflection of my upbringing, a work ethic, a personal challenge." This is passion at its best. A passion many of us up here at Big Sky Resort find in snow. Just as we ask why runners pursue marathons or ultramarathons, so we should ask ourselves why we pursue the waist-deep cold fluffy snow. Passion.
So whether you're a huge fan of Forest Gump and want to see that kind of running in person, or just want to experience the views and terrain the runner's will experience, get out there and cheer on our fellow passion-pursuers on Saturday in The Rut-the first ultramarathon to be held at Big Sky Resort. Spectator tickets that take you to the top of the peak are $55+tax (more than $20 less than the Lone Peak Expedition-the only other way to get to the top in the summer). Pick them up at Basecamp or online.
Go Rut Runners!
I was told that I had to try the Fish and Chips at the Carabiner Lounge. I was told that this plate de frite was the best of the best. Who could resist this challenge?
So off I went with my colleague Chris for this must have nosh. It was a fantastic summer day with wide open blue Montana skies so we opted to sit on the terrace of the Carabiner. The terrace provided direct views of Lone Mountain set just away from the hustle and bustle of the Mountain Village Plaza. The bistro style menu had many offerings that piqued my palate including Honey Salmon Salad ($15), BBQ Tofu Sandwich ($11), Mediterranean Chicken Sandwich ($14), and a soup du jour that was a cold cream of cucumber, but for me, today, it was Fish and Chips, Big Sky style.
Did you know that Fish and Chips were first introduced to Britain by refugees from Portugal and Spain (where it was called Pescado Frito)? This scrumptious dish then became popular in London and South East England the middle of the 19th century. After that the Fish and Chips plate continued its pilgrimage across the globe. This popular plate is traditionally a cod or haddock fish. At the Carabiner, the fish is a crispy gluten free tempura battered Pacific Roughy, and the chips are a lightly fried Taro served with a Yuzu remoulade. The light crust was crunchy and smooth, while at the same time the Pacific Roughy was flaky and meaty. Taro is a tropic tuber native to Southeast Asia, when fried as a chip it looks like a banana. The Taro chips were lightly salted and surprisingly crunchy. Yuzu is a citrus fruit from East Asia (picture a very small grapefruit). The creamy Yuzu remoulade was tangy and smooth and fashioned a medley of flavor and sensation that rounded the plate out perfectly.
After all that, I am telling you this: You have to go to the Carabiner Lounge and try the Fish and Chips. They are the best of the best with an Asian twist.
I love birthdays. So much so I try to celebrate "week o’ birthday" every year and try to get anyone and everyone to celebrate the entire week of their birthday too.
Few places come to mind to spend a summer birthday: Paris, New York City, skiing in New Zealand, and Big Sky. Between the delicious food, pampered pedicure, day at the pool, and a bonfire under a full moon, Big Sky is tough to beat. I can choose between fly-fishing (seeking that 12 pound cutthroat) or being a lady of leisure (seeking a deep tissue massage), but let’s be honest, I chose both because I have the whole week to celebrate.
The Foodie Birthday:
I started the day at Chet’s. Ordered the Biscuits and Gravy (it comes with the best elk sausage gravy I’ve ever had) and fresh fruit. Take your time in Chet’s and maybe even eat breakfast at the historic Chet Huntley Bar instead of in the dining room. Before the 6-mile ride down to Meadow Village for lunch, I grabbed a Dirty Chai at Mountain Mocha. Hot or iced, the chai with 2 shots of espresso is tough to beat. Upon arriving at the Meadow, I decide to lunch at The Bunker. It may be a non-country club golf course restaurant, but with a chance to see a moose down in the marshy rough, it’s unlike any golf course restaurant I’ve ever dined at. It was a tough decision between the Hole-In-One-Burger and Grilled Turkey Melt on Pretzel Bread, but that pretzel bread wins out in the end. Add a perfect frozen beverage on the side, and a bit of sunscreen, and it’s the perfect luncheon.
The summer days are long at Big Sky, which makes it perfect to hop from one deck to another. The Bunker truly has the best deck in town, but Carabiner is a close second with cozy couches and a fire to dine by out on their patio. For dinner I chose The Wagyu Noodle Bowl. It makes me sweat at first as the sun still shines over Lone Peak, but just as it sets I realize the spicy beef was the right choice, making a delicious birthday dinner (especially when paired with the Creta Roble ‘Tempranillo’). As the sun went down on that cake and Wilcoxsin’s ice cream, I headed to Whiskey Jack’s for a margarita and live music.
I tend to eat what I want during week o’ birthday, but only because I try to balance the caloric intake with a little bit of adventure (exercise hidden within of course).
The Adventurous Birthday:
Even though it was my birthday, I woke up early to see the sunrise and catch some fish. Being so close to the Gallatin River has its perks, and fly-fishing is number one. As an amateur fly-fisherwoman I take my fishing like I take my martinis, dry. Kidding, I don’t drink martinis, but I do love a dry fly and prefer to not get in the water. This makes for a little less successful fishing, but a little more fun as far as I’m concerned. A few bites and one catch later I head back to Big Sky Resort for ziplining. The New Adventure Zip certainly has its perks, but the Nature Zip is where it’s at. A nice short hike, 3 fast zips, and beautiful views make my week o’ birthday wonderful. To cap off a day or two of adventures I wanted to take in sunset views of Lone Peak. As much as I love going to the top of the peak, viewing it from Andesite can’t be beat.
The Pampered Birthday:
Birthdays come with pedicures, right? If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Parks and Recreation (something we definitely know about in Big Sky) it’s to “Treat Yourself!” And that’s just what I did during week o’ birthday. Aiming for the message, I only got as far as the pedicure chair at the Solace Spa and Salon. The best treatment for hiking all summer long is a pedicure with a soak and foot massage (sorry to the good people at Solace for my feet). After a 60-minute pedicure, I felt relief. To continue in the theme of relaxation I spent the rest of the day reading fashion magazines poolside.
Birthdays may come around merely once a year, but thanks to the generosity of friends and family and variety of fun at Big Sky, it’s bound to be another fantastic week next year.
So there I am standing in line behind a 6-year-old girl waiting my turn to get on the bungee trampolines in the Mountain Village Plaza at Big Sky Resort. She and I watch an 8-year-old boy attempting a flip and a 3-year-old girl bouncing as she giggles looking at her parents, both of them have ear-to-ear grins on their faces. Well, here I go a 40-something year old woman about to find her inner child.
Barefoot I climb onto the trampoline. The Basecamp bungee trampoline guide connects two bungee cords to my harness, I look over at the 6-year-oild girl and she already has it figured out- jumping and laughing on the twin trampoline next to mine. The guide explains some how-to's for jumping, she steps off, and tells me to have fun.
I start off a little on the shy side- I haven't done this in a while and I make some baby jumps at first. I put some more leg into it and it's like an instantaneous transformation...
BAM... my fearless inner 6-year-old comes out and I'm using those bungees to launch me in the air, bouncing higher and higher. I can't stop laughing and smiling and feeling free. As I rocket again in the air I start singing out loud "sky rockets in flight... [insert sound effect]... afternoon delight" by the Starland Vocal Band (yes, I had to Google it). Now I hear my guide laughing and yelling to me to do a flip. Woo Hoo- I'm six again! Ahh yeah I can do flips- watch this! My first attempt at a flip brought me back to the reality of my adult form. Not as easy and nor as graceful as I pictured in my head.
I fly up again, my inner 6-year-old tells me I can do it. Using what little abs strength I have I throw a backward flip. Yeehaw! I did it!! Now I'm trying to jump even higher, the bungee cords stretching to heights of 30-feet. I do another flip and another. My inner 6-year-old is roaring, I'm laughing, and the crowd of parents are cheering me on. Then my 40-something year old body pipes up. This is on heck of a workout. I'm using all my core muscles. I become breathless and my legs are tiring. Of course my brain interjects on my body's behalf, "time to let the other kids have a turn." So I slow my jumping to a stop, dismount and slap a high five with a 3-year-old boy waiting in line.
As I walk across the plaza, my inner 6-year-old girl skipping in my heart, with an ear-to-ear grin on my face.
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