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The Shadow of Lone Mountain

Written by Brin Merkley on at

Have you ever looked at something so beautiful, or so perfect that you can't believe your eyes? Funny enough, this is the feeling that caused quite the controversial debate over our Big Sky Resort Facebook page last week after we posted a photo of a shadow. The shadow is incredibly massive, and belongs to our iconic Lone Peak.

Within a matter of hours, the photo went viral.

Here's how it started.

Lone Peak Shadow Facebook Post

Then came the conflicting comments, is it real or is it photo shopped? What do you think? 

(Some names have been blurred for privacy)

Facebook comments on post

Soon enough people began posting their own evidence of its authenticity, including the photographer and Big Sky Resort employee, Robert Wood.

Facebook Comments

Facebook Comments

The question as to whether the shadow was real or fake persisted, so I decided to do some research in an effort to provide an explanation to people who still could not believe their eyes.
First I brought the photo into our "technology/photo brain children staff" who concluded that the image was, indeed, real.

But that wouldn't be enough for the non-believers, so here's some science... if you're into that kind of thing.

According to Science.gov (which Google tells me is a place to find creditable scientific websites) some call it, Mountain Shadow Phenomena. Scientific articles on the topic say regardless of the profile of a mountain, whether it is flat on the top or pointed, to the person observing the shadow from the summit, all mountain peaks cast triangular shadows when the sun is low. The shadow is perfectly symmetrical because it is not falling on the ground; it is falling on a haze layer in the atmosphere. The secret to the shape of the shadow is that is driven by the effect perspective, with the shadow reaching to a vanishing point in the far distance.

Boom! Is your mind blown? Here are some additional cool photo comments showing more examples:

Atmosphere shadow comments

Still don't believe it? 

Come see it, so you can believe it with your own eyes! 

Norse God of summer visits Big Sky

Written by Anna Husted on at

Around mountain ski towns we talk a lot about the Norse god of winter, Ullr, not just because it's everyone's favorite icy cool drink, but because we live and breathe snow. But this time of year it's important to know who the summer god is, and maybe ask ourselves why we don't talk about him.

Odur, also known as Od, is the Norse god of summer and sun. Very little is known about Odur. In fact, more stalk is taken with his wife, Freya, and her love, beauty, and exploration. However, one of the reasons little is known about Odur is because he too would take long journeys, which were not chronicled. Traveling and exploration is one of the most important aspects to Norse culture. While we may never value Odur as much as we value Ullr in our little mountain town of Big Sky, perhaps it's time we give a little more attention to the god of summer travels as we make our way in and out of Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and up and across Lone Peak on a Lone Peak Expedition.

Summer exploration be nigh for all those who hear the call of Odur; wherever he may be.

Lone Peak in July.Photo: Anna Husted

Q&A with local downhiller Dylan Hall

Written by Dylan Hall and Anna Husted on at

I had a chance to sit down with mountain bike-lover and Big Sky Sports retail manager Dylan Hall to chat about Big Sky Resort's trials, weather, and his favorite parts of downhill mountain biking.

How long have you been riding downhill?
I've been riding downhill in Montana for 9 years now. I started mountain biking in the Midwest but it is a completely different game out here. I love the Midwest, but for me Montana brings more of a technical side of riding and of course being bigger, it has something for everyone.

What's the best tip you could give someone just starting out?
Overall get comfortable with the bike and try not to get in over your head. Understanding the bike and what it is and isn't capable of doing is key.

If you could describe mountain biking in three words what would they be?
Freedom through adventure.

What's the coolest thing you've seen while riding?
The weather can produce some really cool shows, but really the overall trail can lead you into some cool places you might not have a chance to get to or at least not have as easy access to if you weren't on a bike.

What's your favorite trail at Big Sky Resort?
The recently built flow trail Otter Slide. Otter Slide brings more of a new approach to Big Sky trails, it has a flow with a series of jumps that makes it exciting and it makes you want to keep coming back.

trail work
New ladder work at Big Sky Resort. 

Team riding

Unknown Ways

Written by Anna Husted on at

Small, yet significant quotes introduce each section in Cheryl Strayed's Wild, reminding us of the value of nature and impact of it on human life. At first these quotes seemed almost kitschy to me. Strayed is not the first author to use other author's decontextualized quotes to pack a punch, but after nearly completing the book (and the movie) it became clearer that these are snippets of someone's mind perceiving nature. I too cannot stay away from the mountains, and it is more often than not that I cannot explain how the mountains make me feel. So I'll let some authors do it for me. Imitation may not be as successful as originality, but it still leaves an impression.

Down the edges, through the passes, up the mountains steep. Conquering, holding, daring, venturing as we go the unknown ways. -Walt Whitman

I clearly remember my first view of that outcrop, rising dramatically from deep spring snow, high above the surrounding forest-its features, distinct and striking, with premium climbing lines obvious from miles away. I was smitten.-Pete Tapley from Outside Magazine on Beehive Basin

We are now in the mountains, and they are in us. -John Muir

Photo: Nathan Gawor


5 Must-try burgers in Big Sky (And one in West Yellowstone)

Written by Anna Husted on at

Summers to me mean about only one thing: Grill season. Most nights I like to start up my own backyard grill and mix in some wild onion to my Montana-raised Angus beef, but on occasion I like to treat myself to some of our delicious burgers in and around Big Sky. Here's my top 5 must-try burgers for summer 2015 in Big Sky:

By Word of Mouth
A swanky little bistro in Town Center, By Word of Mouth boasts one of the best burgers in Big Sky: The BYWOM Burger. This burger tops most basic burgers with caramelized onions, a local Wheat Montana bun, and a touch of slightly sweet ingredients in its secret sauce. A basic burger with a twist of creativity makes for one delicious dinner.

MT Smokehouse
The Montana Smokehouse in the heart of the Mountain Village is a great lunch burger because of its fresh and light ingredients without the richer sweeter ingredients in say the Lone Peak Brewery or By Word of Mouth's burgers. Grilled fresh, this local Montana beef is juicy with a slight hint of a special spice and comes with a choice of homemade BBQ sauces.

The Bunker Bar & Grill
Not only is The Bunker Bar & Grill a great burger because of its great price and great view to accompany it, this burger tastes like a backyard BBQ. Check it out with a Montana Microbrew and fries on Monday night's Burger Night (only $12).

Lone Peak Brewery
The best thing about the Lone Peak Brewery's burger is not what you would think. It's not the fantastic local brew on Nitro tap that balances a great burger, it's the special Mack Attack Sauce that's not necessarily on the menu. The menu boasts a fantastic choice of burgers, but my favorite order is one that only goes on special now and again: The Mack Attack. Double patties, special sauce, and the works make up one of the best burgers in Big Sky. I love this burger.

Smokejumper Café (West Yellowstone)
When in West do as the locals do and check out Smokejumper Café for a great breakfast or an even better burger. The friendly staff is just one element that goes into making a fantastic burger, the reasonable pricing, regional beef, and choice of Bison burger are also reasons this burger makes my list. I like the quaint vibe and the high quality ingredients can't be beat.

The Bunker Burger

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