February 1 was a sunny Sunday that turn into a snowy Sunday, giving me the best of both worlds on the slopes.
Every skier and rider loves to see it snow, A LOT. However, I can't complain when it's a bluebird powder or bluebird groomer day. Last Sunday I got a little of both. I met up with my friend Jeff before he had to work in the afternoon. Word on the slopes was Shedhorn and Dakota were soft with hidden pow stashes tucked into those epic trees. We headed over early and got a few fun laps in on Shedhorn before making our way to the north side of Lone Peak.
Let me pause here a moment and reflect on the magnanimity of Big Sky Resort. Only in Big Sky can I go from the far south side to the far north side in less than a half hour. It's an incredible and diverse four-mountain system that I take for granted.
After a fantastic Zero Gravity Terrain Park groomer, hitting the rollers to catch air, but avoiding the rails, Jeff and I wandered around the long and fun runs off Six Shooter Lift. At this point the air was getting chillier and sun was starting to hide behind the clouds, snow was coming. At this point Jeff left for work and I met up with my chiropractor, Dr. Wick, and our friend Ana for some snowy Andesite mountain turns.
Skiing with one of the best technical skiers I know, Dr. Wick, and one of the gnarliest snowboarders, Ana, I've seen my skiing improve. I like to ski with people better than me because it pushes me to seek the rhythm they've found and pursue runs I might not normally pick.
The snowy Sunday afternoon was fantastic, capped with spicy Bloody Mary's at Carabiner Lounge, and plans for the next time we'd ski together.
To live in a mountain town is to embrace the constant changing weather, pray for snow always, and enjoy whatever the day may bring. This past Sunday was phenomenal, not just because it snowed, but because I got to ski, and ski with good friends.
A day after Big Sky Resort's Christmas week storm I headed out for a bluebird powder day (something that is not hard to come by in Big Sky).
To date I had been skiing Lone Peak and a little Andesite Mountain. This particular day I headed over to Spirit Mountain where I had only skied once before. I knew the trees could be the perfect pitch and figured, like much of the mountain, there would be plenty of powder stashes among the evergreens.
My coworkers Michel and Michael joined me, first for a run on Lizette and then for a Sacajawea Triple Chair ride up Spirit Mountain. We did our first Spirit lap on The Judge, which had nice rollers for cruising momentum through the trees, and the other on Spry Guy, a fast blue that shot us back over to Southern Comfort. The Judge gave us exactly what we predicted: Powder turns. Did I mention it was a bluebird day?
Even though I don't want to spoil my secret tree skiing stashes, Spirit Mountain trees might just be the new best kept secret. After some quick turns down Blackfoot Michael and I jumped on Swift Current for one last run. On the ride up we settled on Rice Bowl, which neither of us had done yet this season, and after the first few turns Michael momentarily lost a pole in the wonderfully deep powder. Fortunately it only took him a few minutes to find it. All I could say was: If you have to lose a pole it's best when it happens because it got stuck so deep in the snow.
With snow continually in the forecast I can't wait to see what 2015 will bring on the slopes. All I know is I'll keep turning them downhill.
Photo: Michelle Frederick
Photo: Anna Husted
Week one at Big Sky Resort has been a solid week of awesome skiing. Just prior to opening week I heard my first avalanche bomb of the season go off (thanks to our awesome Ski Patrol) while sitting in my Huntley Lodge office. It's like the racer's starting gun signaling the start of a great season.
After Opening Day almost twice as many runs at Big Sky Resort opened up, which gave me the chance to do a few Lobo, Calamity Jane, Crazy Horse, and Tippy's Tumble laps on my lunch break. I used to be frustrated by the amount of time it took to change into ski gear and carry my skis and poles to the lift just to turn around in an hour and get back to work. My sentiment has changed drastically after a winter season like 2013-14: We are meant to be skiing and I'm lucky enough to have a job where I can do that every day of the season. It also doesn't hurt that I have my quick change into ski gear down.
With one week of skiing under my belt I look forward to watching the snow accumulate, Challenger Lift opening, Uncle Dan's Cookies at the Tram, and taking my first Liberty Bowl leg-burner of the season.
The feeling of waking up to fresh snow on the ground and hearing bombs from my house in Town Center is how the first week back on skis feels. We may only be skiing Mr. K and Calamity Jane for the first few days, but that feeling never gets old.
Jamey Stogsdill has shredded Big Sky Resort and numerous Montana mountains since she was young. When she had an accident a few years ago she knew she wanted to keep shredding those mountains. About a week ago Jamey broke the boundary and became the first female monoskier (and third ever monoskier) to shred the Big Couloir. As someone who has yet to ski the Big, I find each person who goes over that edge to be inspiring, but Jamey's story breaks that inspiration into something more. I tear up every time I watch this video. Not at the part where Jamey talks about her accident, but at the part when she gets to the bottom of the Big. The joy she expresses in that moment is true insight into life.
Cinematography and Edited by Chris Kamman
The skiing and snowboarding at Big Sky Resort has been fantastic this year (I can attest to the skiing, the snowboarding is hearsay). With nearly a 100" base on the upper mountain, conditions are solid and powder can be found off of every lift. Mother Nature and Father Sky continually look kindly on Big Sky Resort as we have received snow 24 of the last 27 days, yet the sun has also shined through providing plenty of goggle tans.
Last Saturday, I skied off of Moonlight area lifts all day. As someone who grew up going to Big Sky Resort from the early 90s until today, I have been fortunate to explore the Moonlight side of Lone Peak this year. The first few runs of the day I stuck close to Moonlight Lodge (ensuring to get some of those Parmesan Garlic Fries on my ride break), mostly skiing in the trees through Upper Bearcat Gully, Hollywood or Snake Bite to Lower Bearcat Gully, Iron Maiden, and Dogwood. One word describes these runs, especially on a powder day: Contagious. Skiing in the gully near Iron Horse Lift is a unique experience few mountains provide. Sweet snowy turns through the trees give me an infectious delight. Although these runs are not as long as so many others up here off Lone Peak, they're worth exploring.
After my fries at Moonlight Lodge I ventured over to Lone Tree Lift to huck some cliffs. Kidding! But I did take a few hops off of small rocks on Lone Tree and enjoyed the subtle black diamond Grizzly Meadows.
The days I spend skiing pass by in a blur. How very lucky we all are to be able to welcome and enjoy all the fresh snow we received at Big Sky Resort, about 90" this past February. March is just getting started and I'm looking forward to yet another month of making the best of a great snowy situation.
Photo by Ryan Turner Photography
Inside Moonlight Lodge
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