What is an ultramarathon and why would you run one?

Written by Anna Husted on at

ESPN defines an ultramarathon as any running race longer than the traditional marathon (26.2 miles). Ultramarathoners experience black toenails, twitchy legs, runny noses, headaches, side-stitches, sleep deprivation, and Crepitus (cracking knees). Ultramarathoners also may suffer from missing loved ones and the desire to keep pushing oneself. So why do they do it?

Marshal Ulrich, an ultra-marathon runner known for having pulled out his toenails so he could perform at a higher level, has also asked himself that question. His answer is complex enough to fill an entire book (Running on Empty: An Ultramarathoner's Story of Love, Loss and a Record Setting Run Across America), but the short answer is: "survivor's guilt and a need to punish myself, to prove myself, to face down my own mortality, to defy death. But my running is also a reflection of my upbringing, a work ethic, a personal challenge." This is passion at its best. A passion many of us up here at Big Sky Resort find in snow. Just as we ask why runners pursue marathons or ultramarathons, so we should ask ourselves why we pursue the waist-deep cold fluffy snow. Passion.

So whether you're a huge fan of Forest Gump and want to see that kind of running in person, or just want to experience the views and terrain the runner's will experience, get out there and cheer on our fellow passion-pursuers on Saturday in The Rut-the first ultramarathon to be held at Big Sky Resort. Spectator tickets that take you to the top of the peak are $55+tax (more than $20 less than the Lone Peak Expedition-the only other way to get to the top in the summer). Pick them up at Basecamp or online.

Go Rut Runners!


The Rut

From Pescado Frito to Fish and Chips to Roughy & Taro

Written by Lyndsey Owens on at

Pacific Roughy and Taro

I was told that I had to try the Fish and Chips at the Carabiner Lounge. I was told that this plate de frite was the best of the best. Who could resist this challenge?

So off I went with my colleague Chris for this must have nosh. It was a fantastic summer day with wide open blue Montana skies so we opted to sit on the terrace of the Carabiner. The terrace provided direct views of Lone Mountain set just away from the hustle and bustle of the Mountain Village Plaza. The bistro style menu had many offerings that piqued my palate including Honey Salmon Salad ($15), BBQ Tofu Sandwich ($11), Mediterranean Chicken Sandwich ($14), and a soup du jour that was a cold cream of cucumber, but for me, today, it was Fish and Chips, Big Sky style.

Did you know that Fish and Chips were first introduced to Britain by refugees from Portugal and Spain (where it was called Pescado Frito)? This scrumptious dish then became popular in London and South East England the middle of the 19th century. After that the Fish and Chips plate continued its pilgrimage across the globe. This popular plate is traditionally a cod or haddock fish. At the Carabiner, the fish is a crispy gluten free tempura battered Pacific Roughy, and the chips are a lightly fried Taro served with a Yuzu remoulade. The light crust was crunchy and smooth, while at the same time the Pacific Roughy was flaky and meaty. Taro is a tropic tuber native to Southeast Asia, when fried as a chip it looks like a banana. The Taro chips were lightly salted and surprisingly crunchy. Yuzu is a citrus fruit from East Asia (picture a very small grapefruit). The creamy Yuzu remoulade was tangy and smooth and fashioned a medley of flavor and sensation that rounded the plate out perfectly.

After all that, I am telling you this: You have to go to the Carabiner Lounge and try the Fish and Chips. They are the best of the best with an Asian twist.


Carabiner Terrace

Fish and Chips

Birthdays, Big Sky Style

Written by Anna Husted on at

I love birthdays. So much so I try to celebrate "week o’ birthday" every year and try to get anyone and everyone to celebrate the entire week of their birthday too.

Few places come to mind to spend a summer birthday: Paris, New York City, skiing in New Zealand, and Big Sky. Between the delicious food, pampered pedicure, day at the pool, and a bonfire under a full moon, Big Sky is tough to beat. I can choose between fly-fishing (seeking that 12 pound cutthroat) or being a lady of leisure (seeking a deep tissue massage), but let’s be honest, I chose both because I have the whole week to celebrate.

Frozen drinks at The Bunker

The Foodie Birthday:

I started the day at Chet’s. Ordered the Biscuits and Gravy (it comes with the best elk sausage gravy I’ve ever had) and fresh fruit. Take your time in Chet’s and maybe even eat breakfast at the historic Chet Huntley Bar instead of in the dining room. Before the 6-mile ride down to Meadow Village for lunch, I grabbed a Dirty Chai at Mountain Mocha. Hot or iced, the chai with 2 shots of espresso is tough to beat. Upon arriving at the Meadow, I decide to lunch at The Bunker. It may be a non-country club golf course restaurant, but with a chance to see a moose down in the marshy rough, it’s unlike any golf course restaurant I’ve ever dined at. It was a tough decision between the Hole-In-One-Burger and Grilled Turkey Melt on Pretzel Bread, but that pretzel bread wins out in the end. Add a perfect frozen beverage on the side, and a bit of sunscreen, and it’s the perfect luncheon.

The summer days are long at Big Sky, which makes it perfect to hop from one deck to another. The Bunker truly has the best deck in town, but Carabiner is a close second with cozy couches and a fire to dine by out on their patio. For dinner I chose The Wagyu Noodle Bowl. It makes me sweat at first as the sun still shines over Lone Peak, but just as it sets I realize the spicy beef was the right choice, making a delicious birthday dinner (especially when paired with the Creta Roble ‘Tempranillo’). As the sun went down on that cake and Wilcoxsin’s ice cream, I headed to Whiskey Jack’s for a margarita and live music.

I tend to eat what I want during week o’ birthday, but only because I try to balance the caloric intake with a little bit of adventure (exercise hidden within of course).


The Adventurous Birthday:

Even though it was my birthday, I woke up early to see the sunrise and catch some fish. Being so close to the Gallatin River has its perks, and fly-fishing is number one. As an amateur fly-fisherwoman I take my fishing like I take my martinis, dry. Kidding, I don’t drink martinis, but I do love a dry fly and prefer to not get in the water. This makes for a little less successful fishing, but a little more fun as far as I’m concerned. A few bites and one catch later I head back to Big Sky Resort for ziplining. The New Adventure Zip certainly has its perks, but the Nature Zip is where it’s at. A nice short hike, 3 fast zips, and beautiful views make my week o’ birthday wonderful. To cap off a day or two of adventures I wanted to take in sunset views of Lone Peak. As much as I love going to the top of the peak, viewing it from Andesite can’t be beat.


The Pampered Birthday:

Birthdays come with pedicures, right? If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Parks and Recreation (something we definitely know about in Big Sky) it’s to “Treat Yourself!” And that’s just what I did during week o’ birthday. Aiming for the message, I only got as far as the pedicure chair at the Solace Spa and Salon. The best treatment for hiking all summer long is a pedicure with a soak and foot massage (sorry to the good people at Solace for my feet). After a 60-minute pedicure, I felt relief. To continue in the theme of relaxation I spent the rest of the day reading fashion magazines poolside.

Birthdays may come around merely once a year, but thanks to the generosity of friends and family and variety of fun at Big Sky, it’s bound to be another fantastic week next year.


Bungee Trampoline... It's For Adults Too

Written by Sheila Chapman on at

Bungee Trampoline At Big Sky Resort the Basecamp To Yellowstone Park
So there I am standing in line behind a 6-year-old girl waiting my turn to get on the bungee trampolines in the Mountain Village Plaza at Big Sky Resort. She and I watch an 8-year-old boy attempting a flip and a 3-year-old girl bouncing as she giggles looking at her parents, both of them have ear-to-ear grins on their faces. Well, here I go a 40-something year old woman about to find her inner child.

Barefoot I climb onto the trampoline. The Basecamp bungee trampoline guide connects two bungee cords to my harness, I look over at the 6-year-oild girl and she already has it figured out- jumping and laughing on the twin trampoline next to mine. The guide explains some how-to's for jumping, she steps off, and tells me to have fun.

I start off a little on the shy side- I haven't done this in a while and I make some baby jumps at first. I put some more leg into it and it's like an instantaneous transformation...

BAM... my fearless inner 6-year-old comes out and I'm using those bungees to launch me in the air, bouncing higher and higher. I can't stop laughing and smiling and feeling free. As I rocket again in the air I start singing out loud "sky rockets in flight... [insert sound effect]... afternoon delight" by the Starland Vocal Band (yes, I had to Google it). Now I hear my guide laughing and yelling to me to do a flip. Woo Hoo- I'm six again! Ahh yeah I can do flips- watch this! My first attempt at a flip brought me back to the reality of my adult form. Not as easy and nor as graceful as I pictured in my head.

I fly up again, my inner 6-year-old tells me I can do it. Using what little abs strength I have I throw a backward flip. Yeehaw! I did it!! Now I'm trying to jump even higher, the bungee cords stretching to heights of 30-feet. I do another flip and another. My inner 6-year-old is roaring, I'm laughing, and the crowd of parents are cheering me on. Then my 40-something year old body pipes up. This is on heck of a workout. I'm using all my core muscles. I become breathless and my legs are tiring. Of course my brain interjects on my body's behalf, "time to let the other kids have a turn." So I slow my jumping to a stop, dismount and slap a high five with a 3-year-old boy waiting in line.

As I walk across the plaza, my inner 6-year-old girl skipping in my heart, with an ear-to-ear grin on my face.


Training for a 50K?

Written by Lyndsey Owens on at

Training on the trail with Enthusiastic Training Partner

I love running. Running distances for fun, like on a Sunday- all day. I know this is not the norm because I only know a few people that get as excited as me when I ask if they want to go- and I mean I can count them on one hand.

It was a Saturday this past January. I had just returned from some morning skiing when my phone rings. It’s my friend Allison (she is counted on that one hand mentioned above). “Where are you? It is registration day and the 30k already sold out in 5 minutes.” she says. I reply “What? Oh better get on it” . So my race begins, at a computer, six months before the physical start line. There I was feverishly pecking away my information with credit card in hand. The result? Allison has the last spot in the Big Horn Wild and Scenic 50k and me close behind landing first on the wait list.

A few weeks later I am explaining my predicament to Mike Foote, accomplished mountain runner on The North Face Ultra Running Team and Race Director for the Rut 50k & 12K at Big Sky Resort. “You’re first on the wait list? Oh don’t worry, you will get in. You better start training.” Foote says. He was right. In April I got my confirmation, I was in!

Training….uhhh….Training for a 50k, I like running, but I am no expert on actually training for 31.6 miles. I sought out the internet for some advice.

“The 50K schedule alternates between hard weeks and easy weeks to allow recovery and help prevent overuse injuries that may occur from ramping up mileage too quickly. Rest is essential.”

“….there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a foray into ultra-running. Adapting to increased mileage, developing the ability to run while fatigued and experimenting with different nutrition and hydration needs are all very individual endeavors.”

I like that it is subjective to the person and I think I can work with this. Rest is something I have failed at in the past especially during the taper. I have definitely experimented with the ability to run while fatigued and with different nutrition and hydration, not that it was a success. With all that in mind I put together this checklist on what I essentially needed in my training:

1. Time
2. Enthusiastic and Willing Training Partners
3. Hydration
4. Nutrition

Time, where does it go? This was my biggest challenge. Trying to find the time to log all the miles. I found that I had to juggle priorities to hit the numbers. As always, I would have liked more time in the day to run more.

Training partners. As I mentioned before there are a limited number of people I can call and say “What are you doing on Saturday? Want to run all day?” or “Meet me at 6 am for a trail run?” and get a “Yes, I’d love to” response. A good partner is essential and will keep me motivated and it’s always more fun to share the experience, especially in Big Sky, Montana and the greater Yellowstone ecosystem where the views alone are awe-inspiring. Another thing in our world today is “there’s an app for that” and guess what? There is an app for training! I found my iPhone app Runmeter to be an effective training partner for only $1.99. It logs my distance, time, pace and elevation. This app assisted tremendously by connecting my “how I feel today” to some hard numbers. Runmeter talks to me while I run, updating me on my distance, time and pace…I liked that a lot too. I have had many conversations with fellow runners and everyone seems to have an app that they like and use- that’s great.

Hydration, managing this is essential. More miles equals more water, hydrating pre-run is ultra-important and I have learned to drain my hydration pack (a Nathan pack) before the downhill to avoid back pain later. Have you ever heard of ancient medicine like Aruveda? I have tried it- Aruveydic practitioner Callie Stolz (www.santoshabigsky.com) introduced me to this rehydration therapy: a warm cup of water with fresh lemon in the morning. It’s a delicious way to start the day and I do think it has worked for me.

Nutrition, eating the right foods at the right time is important. I am still figuring this one out. Through much trial and error I have found what works for me and what does not. I have also learned to play it safe on race week with my diet. My husband and I have moved toward a plant based diet. We have kept our diet clean with organics and local when possible (sometimes hard to do, but worth it). I have found an Aruveyda approach to eating has been beneficial for me. Good websites like www.joyfulbelly.com and seeking advice from a professional- Aruveydic practitioner (Callie Stolz) provided more understanding on nutrition and digestion.

After all I hope all my training will make the day more fun, because for me that is really what it is all about. This Saturday, June 15 is the day I have been working for over the past 6 months. I am a little nervous, but mostly excited to spend most of the daylight running, because I love it. Wish me luck or better yet join me wherever you are by running a few miles on Saturday.

Looking for your next trail race? Big Sky Resort is hosting The Rut 50k and 12k September 14, 2013. Run the Rut- sign up today. There is limited availability and spots are going quickly. Oh and I recommend you start training!


Mile 20

I am still smiling at mile 20. After a down pour and lightning.


Enthusiastic running partner- Allison looking fast on an all day training run.


Enthusiastic running partners found snow! Sometimes you got to grin and bear it.

Apps are fun! More App StuffRunmeter

Look what my app can do! Runmeter logs all the important stats.

< Older Posts Newer Posts >