Q&A with Big Sky Resort's Terrain Park Manager Nate Bell

Written by Anna Husted on at

Love the Big Sky Terrain Parks? I do too, even if I can't hit many features. Here are a few facts and tidbits from our own terrain park expert, Nate Bell, Big Sky Resort's Terrain Park Manager:

How long have you worked at Big Sky Resort?
Three Years

How many parks do we have now?
Eight terrain parks total. Three large, three medium, and two small parks.

What new features are you most excited to a) build and b) hit?
We just finished a new feature called a lollipop that has become a huge hit in Zero Gravity Terrain Park. I'm most excited to hit The Ambush Jump Line on the far left of Ambush below Ramcharger Lift. They are decent sized and really fun.

Lollipop
The Lollipop now in Zero Gravity Terrain Park. 

What can last year's terrain park fans expect differently out of this year's parks?
A new look to all of our features and a massive feature count of more than 100.

Can we expect to see any pro or semi-pro athletes in the parks this year?
They are always around you just have to keep an eye out for them. Two days ago our park crew spotted Nicolas Müller a Swiss pro snowboarder lapping Zero Gravity.

If any athlete could come, who should come and why?
The Traveling Circus crew, because they travel the entire country but rarely to Montana.

What's your favorite feature and your favorite park?
The 42' up-down rail in Zero Gravity Terrain Park.

Check out the Smokin' Aces: Ace of Hearts Slopestyle competition on Saturday, March 8, starting around noon at the Zero Gravity Terrain Park. 


Tips for a great day of riding

Written by Erik Morrison and Anna Husted on at

The crew here at Big Sky Resort finds gliding down a mountain to be exhilarating, fun, scary, and a great workout. To keep safe and make the most fun of this exhilarating activity, here are some tips I find helpful in staying out on the slopes all season long.

Ski with a Buddy
When I'm surrounded by nature in the middle of the trees on one of my favorite runs, I find silence and solitude comforting. However, 9 times out of 10 I prefer to ski with a friend. Not only is it more fun, but it's also safer when I get into those little bumps in the trees. This holds true for beginners or experienced skiers. It's also good to have a buddy along to help capture all the fun with photos. Selfies!

When in doubt, point it out
When I get into a narrow shoot or some tight tree runs, instead of potentially blowing out an edge on a log (and ruining the run by side-sliding down it) I just point ‘em downhill. This saves the snow for even more skiers, and saves time, which results in getting more runs in one day.

Know when to turn ‘em
Beginning skiers learn quickly that if their skis are pointed straight downhill, the skis are going to carry them downhill, often in a big hurry. That's why turning is one of the most important skills a skier should harness. I learned how to ski through lessons, but also by watching my dad ski. The pros to this: I learned to turn by skiing behind my dad right in his tracks. The cons: I learned to ride in the backseat too much because that's how my dad skied. And that leads me to the next tip:

Keep command of your skis
I used to think I used my poles more than most skiers because they were my greatest asset for keeping out on top of my boards. I tell my skis when to turn, not the other way around. This is a tough tip to learn, but will help immensely in the long run (and makes skiing more fun).

Bring a snack
Not only do I not want my friends to get cranky for lack of sustenance, but I do not ski as well when I'm hungry. Food is energy and skiing exerts a lot of energy. Also, keep hydrating, especially at 11,166 feet. Just remember to throw away any garbage so it doesn't end up in the Gallatin River come spring.

Know when to call it a day
The fun and excitement of a day on the slopes can mask the fatigue my muscles may be experiencing after several runs. Most ski injuries happen late in the day and because of that, I try to avoid particularly challenging ski runs in the late afternoon or evening. It's true, my muscles and energy level may not always match my enthusiasm so I end the day with an easy run and rest up for the next.
-Anna and Erik

tram

Stumpf


A few of my favorite (tree) runs

Written by Anna Husted on at

I've been skiing Big Sky Resort since I was three years old. However, the 2013-2014 winter is my first thorough exploration of all Lone Mountain has to offer, and what a winter it has been. We've had snow 15 out of the last 15 days, and each day I go out I take a Tram lap or two, but always find myself seeking new trails in the trees. I hope this list of my favorite runs at Big Sky encourages a bit of adventure-seeking through the boughs of old Evergreens as well as discovery of new terrain from the top of Lone Peak to the bottom.

Buffalo Jump and Buffalo Trees. Although Swift Current Lift glides directly past Buffalo Jump, it is a run often untracked, especially skier's left in the trees. The spacing of these trees allows for a perfect three-or-four-turn line before taking the fall line into a gully that eventually falls into Crazy Horse. I love tree runs, and this is one of the best. Named after the American Indian ritual of herding buffalo to their deaths by running them off of cliffs, Buffalo Jump (or Pishkun) is not filled with cliff bands although there are a few jumps to be found.
Challenger Trees. Powder stashes galore. I skied Challenger Trees just a few days ago and found line after untracked line. BRT (Big Rock Tongue) Road, which takes skiers over to Moonlight Lodge or Iron Horse Lift, breaks up this series of tree stashes skier's left of Challenger Lift: Like separating the wheat from the chaff.
Mr. K. Mr. K is everyone's favorite. OK, maybe not everyone, but it's a fantastic run with perfect pitches and fun to be had for skiers at all levels.
Elk Park Ridge. Elk, also known as "Wapiti," which means light-colored deer in Shawnee, could be found grazing in open meadows much like this one. I love Elk Park Ridge because I can ski it multiple times in many ways: a warm-up cruiser or go a little off-piste and find some freshies to skier's left.
Crazy Raven. Just a few runs skier's right from Elk Park Ridge lies Crazy Raven, a fantastic tree run with something new to explore every time. Named by John Kircher, Crazy Raven gets its name from the flock of lunch-stealing ravens residing in the area when the run was being cut. Even though the ravens stick closer to the top of Andesite these days, I don't recommend sitting down for a picnic lunch on this run anytime soon. Just point ‘em downhill and find fresh powder on this beautiful Andesite tree run.
Dirtbag Wall. To skier's left of Marx the Dirtbag Wall holds wonderful snow from top to bottom. The Dirtbag Wall fills in nicely this time of year and with a variety of chutes to choose from (specifically called Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and Wild Card) skiing Dirtbag Wall over-and-over again is quite satisfying.
Single Jack. Montana was founded on the backs of miners, and Single Jack is no exception to this history. A single jack is a hammer, essentially, with a four-pound head and 10-inch handle used for striking steel for drilling. This is not at all what it feels like jumping into Single Jack from Lookout Ridge off of Lone Tree Lift. Single Jack is a pleasant and wonderful tree run.
Pixie Trees. Pixie Trees is untouched. Between Far South and Eldorado on the Southern Comfort Lift side of Andesite lies wide open tree skiing among beautiful Lodgepole Pines. Since Far South and Eldorado are both Green Circles few beginners ski into the trees and few moderate to expert skiers find it beneficial to explore the fantastic terrain off SoCo.
-Anna

*Historical facts courtesy of Dr. Jeff Strickler's The Skier's Guide to the Biggest Skiing in America.

Anna on Dirtbag

RDT Skier in Trees
Photo © Ryan Day Thompson, 2014 | www.ryandaythompson.com

Tree Runs
Photo © Ryan Day Thompson, 2014 | www.ryandaythompson.com


Photos from the week of Jan. 27 and Feb. 3

Written by Anna Husted on at

"Skiing is a dance and the mountain always leads."-Anonymous
"You don't make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved."-Ansel Adams

Ski photography has a history as long as skiing itself. The following photos are from the past two weeks at Big Sky Resort. A place where sunny bluebird powder days and snow falling powder days both mean beautiful photos and smiling friends enjoying the mountain dance.

Inversion
Photo: Chris Kamman

Dan's Cookies
Dan's Cookies now open at the Tram. 

Christy Stergar

Dave Stergar

Justin Howells

Mary Ball

Perry Rust
Photo: Perry Rust


Photos from the week of January 1

Written by Cody Chesneau on at

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

Cody

Cody 2

Cody 3

Cody 4

Cody 5

Cody 6

Sten
Photo: Michael Stenberg


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