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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

Ships, Tires, and Tails

Written by Anna Husted on at

If I could describe Big Sky Resort's High Ropes Course in one sentence it would be: It's an exhilarating experience that takes a bit of nerve. But I'm not going to just describe the High Ropes in one sentence because it's a grander participation with oneself and ones friends than one sentence will allow.

On Monday morning I went with my colleagues (and friends) to try on a team building exercise at the High Ropes Course about a 20-minute walk from the Mountain Village Base Area. I use the words "try on" because looking at the eight of us one might not guess we were extremely outdoors-oriented with the drive to try anything.

Guides Emily and Kimber led us through a brief, yet thorough training and practice session and then sent us on up the 30 feet to the first platform where nothing separated us from the ground except the obstacles we were attempting to cross.

I clipped my "lobster claw" carabiners, which were connected to my harness via two solid ropes, into the first line and started across the Picnic Tables. Once I got across the Picnic Tables the only element that was unoccupied was the Tire Swings. I thought to myself: "I can do tire swings, I used to play on these all the time as a kid." Stepping out onto the first tire I quickly realized the Tire Swings are one of the more difficult elements in the course because they started to twist me around, which meant the ropes connecting the line and my harness were also twisting around making it impossible to move on to the next tire. As my arms began to ache from holding on I quickly stepped back to the first tire and up onto the platform to regain my composure. This was going to be harder than I thought.

After a few minutes of letting my arm muscles rest I jumped out onto the Tire Swings again, this time moving quickly from tire to tire until I was across all six and onto the opposing platform. That was satisfying. I then took what felt like a leap of faith down onto the wire holding up the 2x4 wooden beams or "chopsticks" and maneuvered my way between each beam, crossing one foot over the beam and then the next. Somehow the wire I was balancing on made me feel less secure than a swinging tire. Yet standing on a firm platform on the other side was again so satisfying.

We all tried most of the elements: Chopsticks, Monkey Tails, Ship's Crossing, and the ever conundrum Lily Pads, but my favorite was the Tire Swings. Possibly because it was the first tough obstacle I conquered, but it could also be my favorite because it was just fun to stand up there, 30 feet above the ground, and feel a little nervous excitement of problem-solving something so many people will never even try.

I can't think of a better way to start off the work week or to bond with friends over the absurdity and exhilaration of swinging from some ropes.

high ropes 1
Sheila climbing up to the first platform. Photo: Michel Tallichet

high ropes 2
Big Sky Resort's High Ropes Course. Photo: Michel Tallichet

Trail Runner’s Paradise: Big Sky Resort

Written by Lyndsey Owens on at

TRAIL RUNNING... This sport can be enjoyed easily in Big Sky, Montana. All you need is yourself, maybe a friend or two and a dog is good too. Bear Spray, you want that, just in case and it makes you feel safer as you soar through the forest. You will need a pair of running shoes and comfortable clothing. Depending on your distance maybe some energy gels or a bar and water. Most importantly you need a trail to run. There are many trails to choose from, pick up a map in Big Sky Sports. Here are a few of my top picks:

This rolling up hill out-and-back is 10 miles. You can keep going to the saddle and make it 12 miles or further to Summit Lake 15 miles out-and-back. Want more? Keep going to Hellroaring (24 miles) or Spanish Creek (19 miles) Trailheads but you will need to set up a shuttle for your return. Start at the North Fork Trailhead located off of Lone Mountain Trail.

This true cross country lollipop loop is 5.9 miles- Start at Porcupine Trailhead. At almost 1 mile in right before the second bridge take the trail to the left follow signs to first creek where this lollipop loop starts. If you choose to go left then follow all junctions' right that should bring you back around and if you choose right- follow junctions to the left until you get back to the lollipop stick. If you are running toward Lone Mountain you are headed back to the trailhead. Porcupine Trailhead is located on highway 191 just north of the Gallatin Riverhouse Grill which is a great post run refreshment stop.

This up and around and down loop is 4.5 miles. Start in Big Sky Resort's Mountain Village, grab a trail map from Basecamp (they are free) then start trotting. This loop is part of the Rut 11k and 50k races in September. Grab a bite to eat at MT Smokehouse in the plaza when you finish.

Another trail running tip: It's good to let the wildlife know you are there. I like to give a good loud "Hey Bear" when I am entering or exiting wooded areas, descending into or ascending out of drainages or if I can't really see what is around the bend. Give it a try.

Happy Running!

trail running
Upper Beehive Basin Trailhead

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