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The Perfect Storm

Written by Brin Merkley on at

El Niño, Who? Of the 33 years of snow data collected at Big Sky Resort 10 of those years have been El Niño. 60% of these El Niño years have been above average or average snow fall. Based on last week, we are off to a great start. Powder to the People.

Old man winter has been showing us love at Big Sky Resort! Thanks to a winter storm that prompted warnings all over local news last week, Big Sky is now covered in powder! We received over 30" of snow!

But did you know there are several different types of snow? Think about the snowmen you've built, or the snowballs you've thrown. When we're lucky the snow packs well together, other times old frosty just ends up looking kind of hung-over or that snowball just doesn't have the same impact on the back of your sister's head. Nobody likes that.

The snow we received from this storm was the good stuff, it was wet powder snow, with the consistency of mash potatoes... and that's good news because wet snow is a perfect base layer. Powder alone will not support a ski pole right at the surface and skis will sink until pressure forms a support layer. Old man winter, god love him, dropped powder on Monday and Tuesday for us with a 10% snow water equivalent(SWE). This is the ideal amount of stickiness needed to create a solid foundation for powder to layer on throughout the season.
We were so excited about our massive dump of powder that we just couldn't help but to open up for just one early day to celebrate.

Late on Friday night our staff in all departments was in a frenzy getting material ready for the spontaneous announcement: that we would be opening up the next day, for only that day before our official opening date! And tired as we were, we did it, and we were pumped to be back bright and early!
Our chairlifts ran early on Saturday November 7th and the air was filled with hoots and hollers as snowboarders and skiers rallied with excitement! They formed a line at the bottom of swift current as our Ski Patrol welcomed everyone and gave them the scoop on where the best powder was at. Enthusiasm was high, skies were bluebird, and the powder was perfect. We thought to ourselves, what else could go right?

As the first riders hopped on the chairlifts, it was a spectacular sight to see them carried up our heavenly mountain headed for an exhilarating day on the slopes.

Big Sky Resort

After a thrilling day on perfect pow, the day ended with smiles from ear to ear! Thanks to everyone who came up and we look forward to seeing you all back on Thanksgiving!

Turkey for a Ticket

Written by Brin Merkley on at

Not only are snowflakes in the forecast... but so are turkeys! ...It's going to RAIN TURKEYS PEOPLE!

All jokes aside though, as November inches closer, Thanksgiving is on just about every American's mind this time of year, as is Christmas... as is FOOD.

We here at Big Sky Resort are SO THANKFUL to be opening for the 2015/16 winter season on this glorious November 26th day full of family, feasting and fun on the slopes but we're also thinking about the millions of people who struggle to feed themselves and their families every day.

The punch of the recession is still being felt all across the country, and in the bellies of roughly 3,000 men, women, children and seniors living right here in Gallatin County.

That's why we hope you and everyone you know will join us on Friday, December 11th as we host our 9th annual Turkey for a Ticket Food-raiser at the opening day of the Madison Base Area starting at 8:30 in the morning, this food-raiser will help the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, Madison Valley Food Bank, and the Big Sky Food Bank to provide food for families this holiday season.

So let's talk turkey... participants will get a free lift ticket valid for the day of the event in exchange for a minimum 13 pound frozen turkey or 20 cans of non-perishable food. The food banks are specifically in need of canned fruit, canned tuna, canned chili, canned tomato sauce, and canned soups.

So grab your skis or snowboard and pick up a few turkeys and consider yourself a hero, a hero we reward with free skiing! You can even wear a cape if you want! But it ends at 1pm Superman, so don't dilly dally!

Gold, Bronze, and Moonlight Pass holders... you can also be a superhero! Since you already have a pass, bring a turkey or your canned goods and we'll give you a $20 demo ski rental... regularly this is $69 bucks! Boom!

Big Sky Resort Staff, Food bank trucks, and volunteers will meet you at the Madison Base Area to unload your frozen turkey or canned food at 8:30 in exchange for one lift ticket per person per donation.

But since you're all superheroes you're probably curious how well this thing goes down... WELL, I will tell you, pretty darn well... thanks to you fine folks. Since we started doing this thing back in 2007, Turkey for a Ticket has collected close to 200,000 pounds of food for local area food banks.

(Let's all just take a moment to pat ourselves on the back... yeah; we're cool with happy dances too.)

Mark your calendars, tell your friends, send them this blog... you know the drill. It's on a Friday, so let's do this thing! We'll see you up here!

Get Your Body Slope Ready

Written by Brin Merkley on at

Ok! So you've got your new snow gear, boots, hat, gloves, ski's and/or board is waxed, season passes purchased, condo booked... you're set! Oh, but wait... you haven't been riding or skiing since last season... orrr really going to the gym (and running to work because you're late doesn't count, but way to be optimistic!)

This year you told yourself you really want to hit the slopes without getting muscle cramps, but now snowflakes are beginning to fall and it's just about go time for The Biggest Skiing in America!
Worry not! Because I've compiled a dandy list of workouts that you can do to get your body ready to shred some serious pow.

Active.com asked a personal trainer whose trained skiers and professional athletes for his two cents on the subject and found out it's the secondary muscles that you need to pay attention to. These are your muscles that aren't used every day in constant motion, and by strengthening them you'll help avoid injury.

They identified the 6 muscles used the most in skiers as hamstrings and glutes, inner and outer thighs, abs and back, calves, quadriceps, and arms. You can click here to get their 6-week workout plan.

Shape.com focuses on balance as a MUST HAVE skill whether you ski or snowboard. They say we begin to lose our sense of balance at the age of 25, so maintaining it with exercise is essential.
First they recommend finding a BOSU ball for some powerfully effective exercises.

(This a BOSU ball, but I just like to call it Harvey.)

They recommend balancing on one foot on the top of the BOSU while doing bicep curls, or start with both feet on the floor and alternate toe taps in a quick series while aiming for the top point of the BOSU, or Harvey.

Another balancing exercise they recommend is standing on one foot, with the other foot raised just barely above the ground. Feel free to do this while brushing your teeth, talking on the phone, watching TV, or deciding to name your ball something other than Harvey. You can read more about that here. 

Speaking of balance, yogajournal.com says being aware of our feet is a critical factor in stability. By standing in the "Extended Sides Angle Pose" or Utthita Parsvakonasana (rolls off the tongue), they say to practice putting even pressure through the entire foot, observing how the slightest shift to one side can cause you to become unbalanced.

Here is what this looks like, and you can click here to read more and see demonstrations. 

Yoga pose to increase balance
Theactivetimes.com called on some snow experts, personal trainers and yogis to weigh in on the topic as well. They list the 7 most important moves for building total body strength that will help you power down the mountain along with a guide to show you how to execute the move perfectly. Those moves include lunges, burpees, push-ups, squats, chair pose, single leg Romanian deadlift, and last but not least... planks, baby!

Even though you're pretty confidant you know how to do a lunge properly, make sure you check out the guide for each move to avoid hurting yourself in the process of trying to help yourself. Nobody wants that.

Need another incentive to get off the couch and get started? Tell yourself you'll allow one extra plate of food on turkey day if you get the ball rolling now! Or... just think of that time when you were trying to be cool and wrecked HARD in front of all of those cute girls or hot guys... if only you had taken the time to hang out with Harvey! :)
You've got this!

Just 5 Reasons Big Sky Resort is the Biggest Skiing in America

Written by Brin Merkley on at

You might see the hash tag #TheBiggestSkiinginAmerica on our social media posts often (accompanied by a killer emoji combo of a pair of ski's next to the American Flag) but what exactly makes Big Sky Resort the biggest skiing in America?

Here are 5 of the many reasons why Big Sky Resort is THE BIGGEST SKIING IN AMERICA.

Big Sky Resort

Photo: Ryan Day Thompson

1. Space to Ski - We have 5,800 seamless skiable acres with a 4,350 vertical drop and about 2 acres per skier, that's more than a football field of room per skier.

2. More Slope Time - Here at Big Sky Resort you can ski more lines by not waiting in line! We have an average of 3,000 skiers per day, which is a fraction of skiers at metropolitan resorts of similar size.

3. Consistent Snowfall - Based on historical weather patterns, we have a total annual snowfall of 400" that fluctuates very little from year to year.

4. Terrain Variety - We have the best mix of beginner (15%), intermediate (25%), advanced (42%), and expert (18%) terrain for seamless skiing between 4 mountains served by 30 lifts with more than 300 runs.

5. Lone Peak - There is only one. You can ride the Lone Peak Tram to 11,166 feet for 300° of skiing, views of 3 states, and 2 National Parks. (Talk about major instagram ammo)

Sure, some places may have more acreage than Big Sky Resort (anyone can add acreage and we may too)... but does it really matter how many acres you have if you're forced to waste precious time in a crowded lift line only to find that the mountain is all skied off at noon on a powder day and then to be sardined the entire ride down? Me thinks not.

The Biggest Skiing in America tagline was never about one number, or one statistic. What it means to us is the skiing experience as a whole. It's the feeling you get when you're out here, and you see Lone Peak towering over you, the zero to limited lift lines. It's about being able to find powder on the mountain days after a storm; and about having more room to ski than anywhere else. If you want the ultimate mountain experience, Montana just makes sense.

**Mic drop**

The Famous Fox at Big Sky Resort

Written by Brin Merkley on at

One lady told me she named him "Red", but everyone else who talks about him says he doesn't have a name. I heard about this beautiful creature from people all over the resort... and then one day after work, I finally saw him!

My first sighting happened on a sunny evening as I was jumping into my car to head home for the day. I remember stopping to look at the beauty surrounding me when a flicker of red came into the corner of my eye. There he was... a gorgeous red fox!

He came strolling confidently and comfortably through the public parking lot as if to say, "oh hey new girl, that's where Dan usually parks... no biggie, seeya later!"

I was taken back not only by this animal's beauty but the fact that I had never been so close to a fox before! I had to follow him! 

He strolled on down to Lake Levinsky to refresh himself with a drink of water.

At this point I noticed a guest, a teenage boy, had also been struck by the same excitement that I had. The fox sat down maybe 15 feet away from him, just to hang out!

Even as complete strangers, we beamed at each other understanding the rare magnificence of this moment.

I sat for a minute to appreciate how great it was to see a teenager in the 21st century (who had just been completely sucked into his phone) transform entirely, smiling from ear to ear at this fox sitting near him.

Whatever was on his mind before had been erased and replaced with pure joy. Funny, how nature has that effect on people.

Just as my phone was about to die, I captured this ten second video, as this famous local fox snuggled into some lucky guests grass covered lawn for a bit of beauty rest.

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