On Wednesday, March 4 Big Sky Resort had a few inches of fresh snow and a few hours of sunshine. I took to the terrain parks and to the groomers over my lunch break for some fast and sunny laps on Lone and Andesite Mountains.
My first mission was to head up Swift Current Lift and over to Zero Gravity Terrain Park, hoping to hit the first and newest jump in the three jump line. Since the second and third jumps are a little out of my skill level I was stoked when the Terrain Park Crew put the first jump in. My first take I did a few too many speed checks, hitting the landing a little short, so I made my way down to Six Shooter, enjoying the rest of the fresh corduroy in Zero Gravity and a little of the off-piste powder on the edges of the run.
For time's sake I had to put on hold my second attempt on the first jump because I wanted to get back over to the Mountain Village Base Area and head up Andesite for some fast runs down Elk Park Ridge and Big Horn. Big Horn was fun and fast, taking just a few turns into the groomed lines, sharpening my edges like a super G racer. Elk Park Ridge is always a blast with its long rolling pitches. I always make a point of looking across at Lone Mountain Trail for the skier's perspective from the hill because I look at Elk Park Ridge every morning from the driver's perspective. What beautiful symmetry Andesite Mountain gives.
With the first Sunset Saturday under our belts, I can't wait for longer sunny days on fresh groomed runs, exploring the feel of my skis on untracked lines.
Skier: Dani Menter Photo: Michael Jezak
Before my son and I arrived at Big Sky, one thing was clear. We weren't going to be able to ski it all.
Big Sky is an enormous resort with 5,800 acres, 30 chair lifts, and terrain draped across four distinct mountain peaks.
And while we weren't even sure we'd make it to each lift, we pledged to get up early, ski all day and explore as much of this Montana mountain as possible.
And for two days, we did just that.
Led by a friend, and inspired by the trail map, we spent our first day doing everything from skiing untracked corduroy on Andesite Mountain to hiking the Headwaters boot pack to the A-Z Chutes. We made at least one run on each of the resort's mountains, and rode about half the lifts, including the Lone Peak Tram with its breathtaking "don't miss" views.
By evening we were beat.
Waking up to fresh snow on the ground and more falling from the sky revives even the most tired legs, and day two found us repeating some of our favorites, while continuing the exploration on Lone Mountain's South Side.
And while we certainly saw a lot, we didn't even come close to seeing it all.
Here's why we'll be back and why your family should definitely plan a trip to Big Sky.
Whether you've got two days or a week, or (even better!) two weeks, you don't want to miss "America's Biggest Skiing."
Check out more stories from The Brave Ski Mom here.
Like many people around here, I moved west in search of big mountains and deep, cold, soft snow; when I moved to Montana five years ago from Kansas I had never skied on a real mountain, or real snow for that matter, and my transition from a Midwest park-rat to a big mountain rider had quite the steep learning curve. Today, I live to ride Headwaters, Big Couloir, or back in Beehive Basin, so it should come as no surprise that I tended to get frustrated when the Tram, Triple or Shedhorn would be on wind hold. That is until the other day, when my buddy Jonathan called me up and wanted to just cruise around and ski all the terrain lower on the mountain that we always pass over on our way to the peak. Something clicked in my head that day that reminded me why I do this: because it's fun, because friends are awesome, and because life shouldn't be taken too seriously.
Old man winter brings us great snow year in and year out, I am thankful for what we have each season, remember not to take it too seriously, and remember that it could always be worse, trying to ski ice covered mole-hills back in Kansas.
Photo: Patrick Larson
Photo: Erik Morrison
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
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