< Older Posts

The Perfect Storm

Written by Brin Merkley on at

El Niño, Who? Of the 33 years of snow data collected at Big Sky Resort 10 of those years have been El Niño. 60% of these El Niño years have been above average or average snow fall. Based on last week, we are off to a great start. Powder to the People.

Old man winter has been showing us love at Big Sky Resort! Thanks to a winter storm that prompted warnings all over local news last week, Big Sky is now covered in powder! We received over 30" of snow!

But did you know there are several different types of snow? Think about the snowmen you've built, or the snowballs you've thrown. When we're lucky the snow packs well together, other times old frosty just ends up looking kind of hung-over or that snowball just doesn't have the same impact on the back of your sister's head. Nobody likes that.

The snow we received from this storm was the good stuff, it was wet powder snow, with the consistency of mash potatoes... and that's good news because wet snow is a perfect base layer. Powder alone will not support a ski pole right at the surface and skis will sink until pressure forms a support layer. Old man winter, god love him, dropped powder on Monday and Tuesday for us with a 10% snow water equivalent(SWE). This is the ideal amount of stickiness needed to create a solid foundation for powder to layer on throughout the season.
We were so excited about our massive dump of powder that we just couldn't help but to open up for just one early day to celebrate.

Late on Friday night our staff in all departments was in a frenzy getting material ready for the spontaneous announcement: that we would be opening up the next day, for only that day before our official opening date! And tired as we were, we did it, and we were pumped to be back bright and early!
Our chairlifts ran early on Saturday November 7th and the air was filled with hoots and hollers as snowboarders and skiers rallied with excitement! They formed a line at the bottom of swift current as our Ski Patrol welcomed everyone and gave them the scoop on where the best powder was at. Enthusiasm was high, skies were bluebird, and the powder was perfect. We thought to ourselves, what else could go right?

As the first riders hopped on the chairlifts, it was a spectacular sight to see them carried up our heavenly mountain headed for an exhilarating day on the slopes.

Big Sky Resort

After a thrilling day on perfect pow, the day ended with smiles from ear to ear! Thanks to everyone who came up and we look forward to seeing you all back on Thanksgiving!

Get Your Body Slope Ready

Written by Brin Merkley on at

Ok! So you've got your new snow gear, boots, hat, gloves, ski's and/or board is waxed, season passes purchased, condo booked... you're set! Oh, but wait... you haven't been riding or skiing since last season... orrr really going to the gym (and running to work because you're late doesn't count, but way to be optimistic!)

This year you told yourself you really want to hit the slopes without getting muscle cramps, but now snowflakes are beginning to fall and it's just about go time for The Biggest Skiing in America!
Worry not! Because I've compiled a dandy list of workouts that you can do to get your body ready to shred some serious pow.

Active.com asked a personal trainer whose trained skiers and professional athletes for his two cents on the subject and found out it's the secondary muscles that you need to pay attention to. These are your muscles that aren't used every day in constant motion, and by strengthening them you'll help avoid injury.

They identified the 6 muscles used the most in skiers as hamstrings and glutes, inner and outer thighs, abs and back, calves, quadriceps, and arms. You can click here to get their 6-week workout plan.

Shape.com focuses on balance as a MUST HAVE skill whether you ski or snowboard. They say we begin to lose our sense of balance at the age of 25, so maintaining it with exercise is essential.
First they recommend finding a BOSU ball for some powerfully effective exercises.

(This a BOSU ball, but I just like to call it Harvey.)

They recommend balancing on one foot on the top of the BOSU while doing bicep curls, or start with both feet on the floor and alternate toe taps in a quick series while aiming for the top point of the BOSU, or Harvey.

Another balancing exercise they recommend is standing on one foot, with the other foot raised just barely above the ground. Feel free to do this while brushing your teeth, talking on the phone, watching TV, or deciding to name your ball something other than Harvey. You can read more about that here. 

Speaking of balance, yogajournal.com says being aware of our feet is a critical factor in stability. By standing in the "Extended Sides Angle Pose" or Utthita Parsvakonasana (rolls off the tongue), they say to practice putting even pressure through the entire foot, observing how the slightest shift to one side can cause you to become unbalanced.

Here is what this looks like, and you can click here to read more and see demonstrations. 

Yoga pose to increase balance
Theactivetimes.com called on some snow experts, personal trainers and yogis to weigh in on the topic as well. They list the 7 most important moves for building total body strength that will help you power down the mountain along with a guide to show you how to execute the move perfectly. Those moves include lunges, burpees, push-ups, squats, chair pose, single leg Romanian deadlift, and last but not least... planks, baby!

Even though you're pretty confidant you know how to do a lunge properly, make sure you check out the guide for each move to avoid hurting yourself in the process of trying to help yourself. Nobody wants that.

Need another incentive to get off the couch and get started? Tell yourself you'll allow one extra plate of food on turkey day if you get the ball rolling now! Or... just think of that time when you were trying to be cool and wrecked HARD in front of all of those cute girls or hot guys... if only you had taken the time to hang out with Harvey! :)
You've got this!

Just 5 Reasons Big Sky Resort is the Biggest Skiing in America

Written by Brin Merkley on at

You might see the hash tag #TheBiggestSkiinginAmerica on our social media posts often (accompanied by a killer emoji combo of a pair of ski's next to the American Flag) but what exactly makes Big Sky Resort the biggest skiing in America?

Here are 5 of the many reasons why Big Sky Resort is THE BIGGEST SKIING IN AMERICA.

Big Sky Resort

Photo: Ryan Day Thompson

1. Space to Ski - We have 5,800 seamless skiable acres with a 4,350 vertical drop and about 2 acres per skier, that's more than a football field of room per skier.

2. More Slope Time - Here at Big Sky Resort you can ski more lines by not waiting in line! We have an average of 3,000 skiers per day, which is a fraction of skiers at metropolitan resorts of similar size.

3. Consistent Snowfall - Based on historical weather patterns, we have a total annual snowfall of 400" that fluctuates very little from year to year.

4. Terrain Variety - We have the best mix of beginner (15%), intermediate (25%), advanced (42%), and expert (18%) terrain for seamless skiing between 4 mountains served by 30 lifts with more than 300 runs.

5. Lone Peak - There is only one. You can ride the Lone Peak Tram to 11,166 feet for 300° of skiing, views of 3 states, and 2 National Parks. (Talk about major instagram ammo)

Sure, some places may have more acreage than Big Sky Resort (anyone can add acreage and we may too)... but does it really matter how many acres you have if you're forced to waste precious time in a crowded lift line only to find that the mountain is all skied off at noon on a powder day and then to be sardined the entire ride down? Me thinks not.

The Biggest Skiing in America tagline was never about one number, or one statistic. What it means to us is the skiing experience as a whole. It's the feeling you get when you're out here, and you see Lone Peak towering over you, the zero to limited lift lines. It's about being able to find powder on the mountain days after a storm; and about having more room to ski than anywhere else. If you want the ultimate mountain experience, Montana just makes sense.

**Mic drop**

The Way I Ski It: Fresh snow on March 25

Written by Patrick Larson on at

Last week the snowfall was generous in the Spanish Peaks. Nearly half a meter of fresh powder made us all freak out in our own special kind of way.

It is days like March 25 that the old adage, "there are no friends on a powder day," shows its truth and power. I was excited enough for the five or so inches that fell the day before the big dump, but as I woke up with the sunrise and checked the morning snow report finding an additional 15"+ of snow, all bets were off for the day. I was going riding, and nothing was going to stop me, not even a telephone job interview I was scheduled for at 11am.

On days like this I usually drive straight over to the Madison Base to avoid any "crowd" (as small to non-existent as the lift lines are on the mountain village side, they're even smaller out of Madison). I had to be diligent about checking the time though, as I needed to be at the Big Sky base in order to get a signal for my interview.

By 11:45 I was on my way up to spend the rest of the day doing laps on the tram, and later Challenger. Run by run I was entranced by this bottomless freedom. I don't know how many more days like that we might get this year, but I do know that if we do I will be dropping almost everything for those few perfect turns. Perfect turns all day long and the job interview went great. I can't let anyone tell me it's not possible to make work and doing what you love coexist.



The Way I Ski It: 300 degrees of Lone Peak

Written by Anna Husted on at

Big Sky Resort won onthesnow.com's Best Resort Terrain Award in 2014, and for good reason. Not only does Big Sky have diverse terrain for every skill level, both alpine and sub-alpine, but it boasts skiing more than 300 degrees around iconic Lone Peak.

I love the run length Liberty and Dakota Bowls offer, taking me from powder fields to trees back to fields a half a dozen times in one run. But I also love the expansiveness of the terrain off the very top. Feeling adventurous? Check out the North Summit Snowfield or the Big Couloir. Feeling a day of tram laps? Don't miss the Gullies. Want to get into the backcountry? Check out easily accessible Dakota Bowl. The possibilities from Lone Peak are nearly inexhaustible, and the diversity of terrain means great snow no matter what month in the winter it is. Here's a sampling of shredding those 300 degrees around Lone Peak:

1. North Summit Snowfield. Start on the North side with one of the longest runs with epic views the entire way down to Six Shooter Lift.
2. Liberty Bowl. Neighboring Dakota Bowl, Liberty is a must shred for any skier. It's long, powder-filled, and fun.
3. Marx. This double black diamond takes you to the Dirtbag Wall, but has its own right to be skied top to bottom without any stops. Marx is just over from Lenin, but often has completely different snow. The wind is Marx's friend.
4. Dirtbag Wall. These short and steep chutes are a blast. Try ‘em all!
5. The Gullies. Just above The Bowl, The Gullies are a great and fast run down the northeast side of Lone Peak.
6. The Big Couloir. A bucket list line for experienced skiers. It's technical and fun. Being in eyesight of The Tram is what intimidates riders, but sometimes I ski better when people are watching (except for the times I don't).

lone peak
Photo: Chris Kamman

< Older Posts