A bluebird day at Big Sky Resort is something that not everyone in the world gets to experience. Not only do you get to ski the coldsmoke powder that piles on the mountain-tops of Lone Mountain, Andesite, Spirit and Flat Iron, you get to ski the Biggest Skiing In America. On this particular day in January, we were fortunate enough to be able to ski the bluebird day at Big Sky the people of all ages dream about. The snow was soft, the runs were long, and the skiing was Big. I cannot wait until I get under the Challenger lift again and the ski lines that pros are known to send it down.
Photo: Kene Sperry
Photo: Jay Brooks
A week ago the clouds rolled in and gave us at Big Sky Resort more than a foot of snow in one storm. Not only was 4-6" predicted and thus our expectations greatly surpassed, but the snow blew in and out of the trees for the next 5 days creating wonderful pockets of powder for the rest of the week.
I took off with my coworker, Michael, GoPro in hand, and headed straight for the Triple Chair. Word had spread that The Bowl was skiing phenomenally and we wanted to check it out.
We crossed the Turkey Traverse, turned the cameras on and I took off past Michael into the blower. Knee-high snow from the top of the The Bowl to the bottom, I found the right pitch and pursued nearly straight-lining the powder. Stopping isn't an option in this much snow, not just because I want to get on the lift and do it again, but also because it's easier to just go for it than to make too many turns when the snow's so deep.
This is what Graham Nash meant when he said: The things we do keep us alive. Michael and I skied a couple more Challenger laps before returning to work.
Snow falls again as I type this and it's been less than 6 days since that footer storm. February or "februa" means cleansing, the time of year when the Anglo-Saxons would offer cake to the gods for a good harvest. Enjoy the harvest.
Photo: Michael Jezak
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.
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