We all know the smell. Every year we welcome it with open arms. It hits my face as soon as I step outside of my house, and I look up as if someone just smacked me across the cheek ... Ahh yes-the smell of winter.
It's crisp, it's cold, and it even stings a bit. But it isn't a hostile sting; it's a sting that gets my blood flowing and snowflakes fluttering in my stomach. The excitement builds in an instant and the next thing I know there's a big, goofy smile on my face and a burst of questions racing through my mind: is it cold enough to snow? When will the first snowfall be? Is it going to be a good winter?-Yes! Where in the world did I put all of my ski gear? Why haven't I bought new skis yet?!
Time seems to drag on and then ... snow! It's a few inches of big, beautiful flakes that are a universal symbol for all snow sport addicts: ski season. The madness begins and ski fever spreads to every skier and boarder in the northern hemisphere. I immediately break out all of last year's ski movies and make plans to attend every premiere of the new ones. I pull out all of my ski gear, maybe put on my ski boots for good measure, even though we all know they haven't changed a bit since being put away for the summer, and I make a list of all the new gear I'll "need" for the season. After the list making I head into my local ski shop (Big Sky Sports, perhaps) to get a tune and stock up on all the new goodies.
It's usually right after that first snowfall that the dreams begin; dreams of waist deep powder turns with my friends, dropping off cornices, sailing through the trees, and having the whole mountain to myself. Only to wake up disappointed in my bed, craving for more.
The countdown has reached single digits my friends. Only six more days until we all can unite and celebrate the best season and sport in the world. Here in Big Sky we're getting hit with snowstorms blanketing Lone Mountain, Spirit Mountain, Andesite, and Flat Iron in a fresh coat of white. Opening Day is looking pretty good. Now that Big Sky Resort is combined with Moonlight Basin it is sure to be an amazing year. Whether it's ripping groomers, hiking the Headwaters, or finding fresh powder off the tram - we really have it all.
Whether it's time to plan a family ski trip or just get out there and shred as a local, ski season is only 10 days away for Big Sky Resort. Reflecting on that epic '11-'12 winter, we use the past to look forward to the future. Enjoy...
Perhaps it is bizarre to even review ski movies. Rarely are viewers seeking out ski movie reviews to make sure the film will have enough big mountain, enough street segments, or enough hits by People Under the Stairs. None of that matters ... until now.
With the onset of millennial movie-making comes this need to search for a greater significance in this post-9/11, post-Columbine world the Millennials grew up in. As Powder Magazine's John Stifter puts it: Can a ski movie format answer the search for meaning...the search for childlike harmony in this modern, ever-connected world we live in? Can Valhalla director Nick Waggoner make a ski movie with a drama screenplay format? In this case, that's not really for me to decide. I found Waggoner's Valhalla a refreshing, albeit explorative, take on the ski movie. With skinny, unshaven hippies at its narrative core and skiing, riding and discovering nature at its heart, Valhalla was entertaining and fun. This is not the average ski movie, but it provided covetous lines slowed down to a speed of pure emotion.
The mountains have beckoned us all over the years for various reasons and in various directions. Valhalla explores one of those reasons and a few of those directions by showing a narrative of a man who may tap into the occasional "experimental" realm of self-exploration, but above all he taps into skiing, snow and nature to find that deeper meaning in life.
I'm not going to lie and say this ski film is for everyone. If I were to see one ski film this year it might not even be this one, but Valhalla is beautiful in its experimental journey toward finding something unknown amongst the known. I ski dozens of days a year, but do I take away something new each day? Perhaps I should.
My takeaway from Valhalla: I may know how to ski, but do I really know myself when I am skiing? And is it possible to ever really know the mountain, especially Lone Mountain and her brethren Andesite, Flat Iron and Spirit, even though I call it my home?
The place I call home.
"Winter is Coming" is the slogan of HBO's Game of Thrones. It is the motto of one of the families on the show (and in the novels) and is the name of the first episode of the first season. Game of Thrones uses the slogan not just because the season of winter overwhelms characters and plot, but also because it is a metaphor for the coming evil and darkness upon the land. How they couldn't be more wrong. Here are a few photo glimpses into the brightness and joy of winter at Big Sky Resort:
Here lies my top ski-related costumes to tickle the trick-or-treater's fancy:
1) The Holy Ski Fool: This is a take on The Holy Fool, a character who possesses wisdom through simple-mindedness. A take on the gaper, The Holy Ski Fool may look less than stellar, but will progress the spirit of the sport far beyond my measly understanding of it. Due to the nature of the wisdom of this character, the costume is completely up to the fool.
2) Saucer Boy: In light of McConkey hitting theaters this month, dust off that round sled and honor the spirit of Shane McConkey the best way one can: through Saucer Boy.
Saucer Boy in all his glory.
3) Dumb and Dumber, I mean, Harry and Lloyd: Although I don't condone trips to Aspen over Big Sky, I do love Harry and Lloyd's ski attire; always classic, never classy.
Harry and Lloyd looking sharp. Although Harry's ski suit is nice as well.
4) 80s Skier: Think Hot Tub Time Machine, but remember how we did it before that movie was even written? Bust out those leg warmers (I never put them away), scrunchie, fanny pack, and grab a hot pink headband, this look will kill.
The 80s want their poles back.
5) Glen Plake: This one may actually end up being more suitable for the ladies out there. Beware, getting the gel into and out of long hair may be more trouble than it's worth. On the other hand, going as Glen Plake makes one unmistakable.
Glen Plake is the man (but we ladies can still go as Plake).
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