I've been working on Vine & Dine Festival at Big Sky Resort alongside Steve Merlino, event foodie extraordinaire. The event takes place August 14-17, and it's a smorgasbord of world-renowned chefs, sommeliers, and vineyards. Here are the highlights from one of the organizers, and it's not too late to grab tickets at the door for any of these:
Asado is a traditional Argentinian beef dish cooked on a "parrilla," or campfire grill for us Montanans, and the Thursday night feature event for the inaugural Vine & Dine. Not only is Asado a unique Barbeque experience, but it's close to sold out so stop reading this and get a ticket now. (I'll take this out if I can't post this afternoon, I think Asado is still interesting even though it's sold out).
After Thursday the heat gets hot at Vine & Dine with food from Google's Global Program Chef Scott Giambastiani who will be serving lunch and sharing a little bit about what he calls the "food revolution." As Google may one day take over our entire society (and the world), I suggest this lunch for THE lunch to attend on Friday (ok it's also the ONLY lunch on Friday). Needless to say it's going to be delicious, informative, and I may just ask Giambastiani to autograph my napkin.
Friday also consists of two seminars (remember, this isn't the average sit-in-an-auditorium-and-fall-asleep seminar, but a drink-wine-and-enjoy-life seminar): Tasting the Master's Way and Touring the Italian Countryside. Tasting the Master's Way features World-renowned sommeliers Fred Dame and Jay Fletcher (both featured in Jason Wise's "Somm" documentary which won Best Documentary at San Luis Obispo International Film Festival). Dame and Fletcher will take us on an "entertaining tasting of carefully chosen wines." One seminar with these two and I'm hoping to be able to pass the prestigious Master Sommelier Exam. Kidding! That exam has one of the lowest pass rates of any exam in the world, which means who better to learn wine from than two of the top ranking somms?
A few more things must be mentioned. Friday night featured Vintner dinners all around Big Sky including Lotus Pad, Olive B's, Buck's T-4, and Saturday night features the headline event: The Wine Stroll. The Wine Stroll takes tasters through the Mountain Village at Big Sky Resort and through the vines of Oregon, South America, Washington, and countless other places. If there's only one event to go to, it's The Wine Stroll.
Before The Wine Stroll tasters can take to Lone Mountain and explore the pinots from 11,166 feet or while ziplining through the forest. Then enjoy any number of seminars and lunches such as Cheese & Wine: One Stinky Good Time or Jay Fletcher's Old Vines of Northern Spain. Essentially we've made it so no taster can go wrong at any of these events.
Last, and certainly the least amount of wine, is Sunday's "Where's the Wine" Brunch, featuring bellinis, mimosas, and Bloody Marys, and, ok, wine.
I'll be enjoying Vine & Dine all weekend, join me for wine and food from around the world.
A traditional Argentinian-style Asado.
When all was said and done, and the kegs had been drank, Brewfest was a successful event by event manager and attendee standards, and it was a ton of fun. Here is a quick list (and a lot of photos) about the things I loved at Big Sky Resort's 9th annual Brewfest:
New Belgium Brewing's Peach Porch Lounger (which I never would have sought out without an event like Brewfest)
Bottom of the Barrel.
Roadkill Ghost Choir (what a cool band).
An impromptu dance troupe dancing on moving tables and teaching us a move or two.
Lone Peak Brewery won the People's Choice Award for Best Brewery.
The sleekness of New Belgium Brewing's brand campaign. Oh the colors! (See below).
The people (I saw so many people I hadn't seen in a long time, and met a great couple from North Carolina).
The scenery. A Brewfest at the base of Lone Mountain just doesn't get much better.
Join us at Brewfest next year on July 10-11. See you there!
Imagine running a marathon that takes you up, around, and over the top of scree-encrusted Lone Peak, gaining and losing approximately 10,000 feet in elevation. Now tack on about 5 more miles. That in a nutshell is The Rut 50K-an ultra-marathon on the brink of becoming the biggest deal in Sky Running in the United States and, at least to some extent, the world.
To clarify, an ultra-race is any race longer than marathon length, or 26.2 miles. The shortest established ultrarace is 50 kilometers, or approximately 31 miles, but many ultra-marathons are 100 miles or more. Sky running, in its simplest definition, is running distance plus vertical, or long runs over mountainous terrain. The Rut, organized by The Runners Edge in Missoula, began in 2013 as the brainchild of race directors and international mountain runners, Mike Foote and Mike Wolfe. "The two Mikes" as they are known throughout the circuit, are both members of the North Face Ultra Running Team. Inspired by the steeper, more technical courses they've competed in throughout the European Alps, they wanted to bring that level of world-class racing to the U.S. and more specifically, to their Montana backyard.
On September 14, 2013, when the inaugural Rut 50K and 12K went off like a ski boot at 4:00am at Big Sky Resort, it got the attention of the International Skyrunning Federation. They chose The Rut 50K as the site of the 2014 Skyrunner World Series (SWS) Ultra Final. The SWS is a group of races taking place in the mountains of Spain, Italy, Switzerland, France, and now the United States. As race organizer Mike Foote explains, "You don't have to run all the races [in the SWS], but since The Rut 50K is the final, you get double the points, so most of the serious competitors will be here. We're expecting a bunch of international elite trail running athletes." One of those much anticipated athletes is Sky Runner Kilian Jornet, whom National Geographic named the 2014
People's Choice Adventurer of the Year.
"The course is one of the biggest draws of the event," says Foote. "The 50K is extremely technical. There's runnable
single track, but there's also lots of knife-edged ridgelines." The most attention-grabbing section takes runners up and over Lone Peak via Bone Crusher Ridge. The climb gains 2,000 feet in elevation in about a mile and a half of highly exposed terrain, to the iconic 11,166 ft. summit.
"It's just unbelievable up there," says Foote. "That part of the course is more than a race. It's an adventure."
The question The Rut asks us all, on some level, is do I have it in me? Do I have that kind of mental game? To put one foot in front of the other, over rocky, mountainous terrain, for 31 miles?
To read more from Ginny on The Rut Ultramarathon check out the next issue of Live Big Magazine now at Big Sky Resort.
The Rut 2013.
The Rut runners head up Lone Peak via Bone Crusher.
In most cities there's a wide range of special events and activities, which often lead to debilitating decision-making. But in small towns like Big Sky the entire community comes out for almost every event.
One of the first events of the summer was the Big Sky Wide Open on Saturday, June 8. The third annual putt-putt tournament Ophir School fundraiser took place from shop to shop around Big Sky's Town Center the second Saturday in June. Raising funds for our public schools couldn't be more fun. With holes designed around snowboards, slack lines, movie theater cut-outs, taxidermy Grizzly Bears, and old skee ball machines each par was more unique than the next. If only we could raise school funds more than once a summer...
Another great summer event I'm excited for is Brewfest on July 12. Big Sky Resort's Brewfest is in its 9th year and promises to be the largest beer festival in Montana. My favorite part is being outside, enjoying great beers with friends, and the live music. Roadkill Ghost Choir, who played The Late Show with David Letterman earlier this year, will perform at Brewfest alongside Hollow Wood.
Although I spend my fair share of time fly fishing in solitude, I love the annual Big Sky Fly Fishing Festival on July 26-27 because it combines one of my favorite hobbies with my love of socializing. I'll spend two days tackling the difficulties of fly fishing while sharing in the camaraderie. This festival makes for a fantastic way to enjoy food from the Gallatin Riverhouse, watch fly fishing films at Lone Peak Cinema, and, of course, catch some fish.
New this summer is Vine and Dine Festival. If there's one thing I like it's food and wine and someone telling me how to pair that food and wine. In particular I'm looking forward to the Big Sky Mountain Village Stroll because I'll have the chance to try a wide variety of wines from dozens of vineyards (including Green and Red Vineyards in Chiles Valley) as well as socialize with friends and wine reps. I intend to ask a lot of questions to learn everything I can about the ins and outs of wine tasting. With only a handful of other tastings under my belt, I'm looking forward to increasing my knowledge of wine and finding new appreciation for the art of wine tasting. Vine and Dine Festival is August 14-17 at Big Sky Resort.
Big Moon Rising Music Festival replaces Spruce Moose this year with its debut over Labor Day Weekend (August 29-30). I have not had a chance to see any of this year's bands live before and I cannot wait for the funk of New Orleans' Dumpstaphunk. Check out "Gas Man" performed by Dumpstaphunk in San Francisco.
Lastly, The Rut. In only its second year, it is now the International Skyrunner Federation's World Series Final, The Rut Vertical K, 12K and 50K promises to be even more impressive than the last. National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Kilian Jornet will make an appearance, and is sure to set a fast pace, in this ultramarathon of ultramarathons. Running is not my sport of choice, but I plan to cheer each runner on, cowbell in hand, and enjoy the Saturday afternoon BBQ, beer in hand. The Rut is one of those events unlike anything I have ever seen. It's too simplistic to say that it is impressive, it's a feat of physical fortitude, but more than that it is a feat of human spirit.
These are just a few of my favorite summer events around Big Sky. More info on these and other events can be found at bigskyresort.com/events
Father's Day is that special time of year devoted to dads. The one thing I know about my dad is he loves Big Sky. As a Great Falls, Montana, resident, my dad finds his fair share of fishing on the Missouri, golfing at various courses in town, and biking the hills of the high plains, but he is beckoned by the rushing fishable waters of the Gallatin River, the views of the Big Sky area golf courses, and the cross-country mountain biking. Thus, I've created this list of Father's Day gifts my dad will love. Now how will I decide which one to give him?
Flies & Fishes- Nymphs for now, Salmon flies for July, and grasshoppers for August, I'm thinking about setting my dad up with a fly-fishing variety pack. With the world-class blue ribbon fly-fishing found on the Gallatin, I know he'll need extra flies all summer long.
Hike, Bike, BBQ- This is a gift my dad would love because it also means quality time together. Hike, Bike, BBQ at Big Sky Resort begins July 1 and goes through August 26. Eating delicious BBQ after hiking and biking around Lone Mountain is right up my dad's alley, and also appeals to me.
Firecracker Open or Big Sky Open- Golf is a passion, an obsession, and a little bit frustrating from time to time. However, golf is one of my dad's obsessions and he's already asked me about the summer tournaments at Big Sky Resort Golf Course. All the tournaments are listed online, but with a dad like mine I still had to send him a list via email ("The IT Department," as he calls me, has at least helped him move beyond snail mail). Since he is eager to participate I thought I would pay his entry fee in a tournament or buy him golf balls that include a free entry into a tournament.
The great thing about having two other siblings is that, when in doubt, we can all go in together for the best gift possible. Father's Day is June 15 so I still have a couple days to decide, but either way I hope to share some fun days on the river, in the mountains, and on the golf course with my dad this summer.
-Anna and Erik
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