Beginning in the 1970s, Chet's Bar had a traditional fondue stube with Austrian singers, servers, and cheesy hot goodness in every pot. After a hiatus, the stube reopened a few years back and is better than ever. Cheese, oil, chocolate, and interactive eating, what a grand idea.
Originating in the confluence of Switzerland, Italy and France, this communal pot (called a caquelon) over a portable stove (a rechaud) was made fashionable by the Swiss as a way to increase cheese consumption, and therefore, cheese sales in the early 1900s. Fondue was then popularized in America at the 1964 World's Fair. Then, not long after, at Big Sky Resort.
Fondue means "to melt," and the first written fondue recipe called for the melting of cheese and wine as a dip for bread. At Big Sky Resort's Fondue Stube I had the chance to drink a glass of wine, while dipping bread in a melted pot of cheese (Gruyere and Emmentaler). This palatable experience was as delicious as it sounds, and it only gets better. I sat around the table with friends, none of whom had experienced fondue before, and we became curious about fondue's origin story as we ordered our second course of hot oil for elk, shrimp and chicken. What we found most surprising was that fondue, as silly and entertaining as it can be, has its own formal etiquette. For instance, if a man loses his piece of food in the communal pot he must buy a round of drinks for the table, and if a woman loses her piece of food in the pot, she much kiss those she is sitting next to. It is not proper etiquette to double dip any food, and the dipping fork is only used for dipping and not to be used for eating. Finally, beverage choice is important when eating fondue, but it varies from country to country. In the United States anything goes, but in Switzerland white wine or black tea is the way to go to avoid any cultural embarrassment.
The Fondue Stube at Chet's, where flavors mingle and stories will be told.
The Cheese Fondue Experience with apples and bread
The Cheese Fondue Experience with a glass of red
Aged Elk Tenderloin Entree dipped in oil fondue
Tempura Tiger Shrimp Entree with batter
All four forks in the Fondue Oil
Chocolate Fondue with bananas, cherries, strawberries, mint marshmellows, chocolate cookie dough, and pound cake.
I wish I could say that I spent weeks crunching numbers and putting them into a fancy scoring system that resulted in Business Insider being the best online business publication or FindTheBest the best online business comparison site. However, I left the number crunching to the numbers people, and they found that Big Sky Resort is the best ski resort in America (those are the numbers talking). With a 97 percent smart rating from FindTheBest, Big Sky Resort ranked number one with 34 points (almost twice that of second place finisher, Jackson Hole, which scored 18 points).
Here's how it works:
10 points for each 1st place finish
8 points for each 2nd place finish
6 points for 3rd
4 points for 4th
2 points for 5th
Round 1: Skiable Acres
Big Sky ranked first.
Round 2: Vertical
Big Sky ranked third.
Round 3: Average Snowfall
Big Sky ranked sixth.
Round 4: Longest Run
Big Sky ranked second.
Round 5: Number of Trails
Big Sky ranked first.
Not only is Big Sky Resort ahead of the rest based on the facts, it's ahead of the rest based on so much more: amenities, friendliness, and a sense of belonging. It is the place where so many people venture into new experiences, whether by skiing for the first time or skiing powder for the first time. Book a trip to the best ski resort in America today.
Skier: Lyndsey Owens Photo: Lonnie Ball
Photo © Ryan Day Thompson, 2014 | www.ryandaythompson.com
I had a chance to chat with Kylie Bechdolt, the Wellness Studio Supervisor at Big Sky Resort. We chatted about specific Wellness Studio classes, including which ones will help you get into better ski shape, and about the overall experience of taking a Wellness Studio class. Here's what Kylie had to say:
What is the best thing about taking a Wellness Studio Class at Big Sky Resort?
The best part about the Wellness Studio classes is that they are personalized. Class sizes are generally fairly small and all of the instructors truly enjoy giving every guest one-on-one attention. It's always a fun learning experience and great workout for everyone who attends a class.
If I've never taken a class, is there a beginner-type class I should attend?
The instructors can cater the classes to any level of ability. Even if there are several people in a class and some are beginners while others are experienced, the instructors are happy to make the class beneficial for everyone. Beginners are encouraged to try all of the Wellness Studio classes to see which one is the best fit.
How can yoga, kettleballs, Zumba, and ballet fitness get me into good ski shape (specifically)?
All of the classes we offer are great for increasing muscle strength, which is a huge part of getting into ski shape. On top of improving your base muscle strength, Zumba, kettlebells, and the cardio conditioning classes are great for improving cardiovascular health and, over the long term, will improve lung capacity which greatly benefits people who ski or snowboard regularly. The yoga and ballet fitness classes are great for increasing the body's overall circulation, core strength, and balance.
What's the most challenging Wellness Studio class Big Sky Resort offers?
Each class is challenging in a different way. It just depends on what type of challenge you are looking for in a workout. All of the yoga and ballet fitness classes will definitely challenge the endurance of your muscles and your core strength. They will also push the limits of your muscles by requiring you to hold positions for a long period of time. On the other hand, all of our cardio classes will challenge the body's cardiovascular endurance and may require more range of motion.
What is the most popular course this winter at the Wellness Studio?
Our most popular class is definitely yoga. People look forward to being able to stretch and warm up their muscles both before and after a day on the slopes. Many of the guests who attend the yoga classes here either do yoga regularly at home or have at least tried it a few times and enjoy trying other instructor's classes to practice new yoga methods.
Any additional comments?
The Wellness Studio offers a great variety of classes seven days a week and the instructors are truly helpful and can provide a wonderful learning experience for anyone. We highly encourage guests, employees, and locals to give each class a try.
Drop-in to a Wellness Studio class today for $15/class, grab a 7-day Unlimited Guest Pass for $50, or commit to the season and get a Community Unlimited Pass for $275. Get into the shape you want to be in to more enjoy all of Lone Mountain's powder.
Happy New Year everyone. While the world has been settling into the new year, we have been taking advantage of the new powder at Big Sky Resort. Check out the recent pics from around the mountain:
Photos: Cody Chesneau
Photo: Michael Stenberg
The top 10 resolutions Americans make every new year are:
1) Spend more time with friends and family
2) Fitness goals
3) Lose weight
4) Quit smoking
5) Enjoy life
6) Quit drinking
7) Get out of debt
8) Learn something new
9) Help others
10) Get organized
These resolutions are decent and all, but I wanted something more; something specific to my life and specific to my time here in Big Sky. My top 10 resolutions for 2014 pertaining to Big Sky Resort life are:
1) Ski more. Skiers often make resolutions or goals at the beginning of the ski season. However, no matter what time of year it is I also want to ski more. This will be the year.
2) Instagram more. Instagram is my favorite social network. Instagram is tough to beat for simplicity in photo and video sharing with my tight-knit group of friends and my tight-knit Big Sky community.
3) Buy a beacon (and brush up on my beacon skills). Safety first!
4) Ski the Big Couloir. With my new beacon in hand I will be able to head to "Big" (as many call it) and ski it with passion and guts. I cannot wait because I've never skied Big before, and what a perfect winter to do it.
5) Read The Big Sky by A.B. Guthrie, Jr. Guthrie was the first person to use the words "Big Sky" to talk about Montana. He wrote the award-winning screenplay for Shane, and published a number of award-winning novels about the American West. The Big Sky is waiting for me at home as I type this.
6) Après more at Headwaters Grille. Headwaters Grille is a fantastic, cozy spot in the Madison Base area with beautiful large format photos and a lovely little bar. Definitely a new lunch or après spot for me.
7) Buy new Rossignols. I love my K2 Misdemeanors. They're fun and turn well, but I cannot wait to get on some fatter skis (to ski the Big Couloir with). Rossi is the way to go.
8) Rock climb in Gallatin Canyon. I first rock climbed in sixth grade. Summer of 2013 I got back on the rocks and found that it's just as exhilarating as it was in sixth grade. My goal is to climb my way along the Gallatin Canyon this year.
9) Pay it forward (on the slopes and off). Paying it forward sounds like a fancy way to say: Be kind to others. However, the idea of paying it forward is more than that. Each time something good or kind happens to you, in turn, you do something good or kind for three other people.
10) Visit Yellowstone National Park in winter. I have lived in Montana on and off for 19 years and never seen Yellowstone National Park in winter. This fact naturally brings me some shame, but mostly disappointment in myself because Yellowstone is one of the most amazing places on earth and, as a national park, has even more to give in the wondrous beauty of winter.
Whatever resolution seems the most important, coming to Big Sky Resort in 2014 should be at the top of everyone's list. There is no place like Big Sky.
To Headwaters Grille at Madison Base Area.
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