"Where are all the female skiers?" This is not a slam on the Big Sky Shootout (or on any female skiers, including myself), but a reminder that I am not just an observer in this community, I'm also a participant. With only one female skier on screen (Hannah Holst, who absolutely killed it with those ‘80s eyes and ripping turns), why didn't more of us ladies make movies for the first annual Big Sky Shootout? For me I think it was the time constraints, or my fear of the editing room, but mostly I didn't make a film because it did not even occur to me to make one. This stalwart mentality to age-old customs of female creative insecurity is inexcusable. Female or not, perhaps you're also kicking yourself over not making a film. Needless to say, I have nothing but respect for the four films, filmmakers, and riders as they put everything out there for us to mock, cheer, and vote for, and that takes guts. Lone Peak Cinema's first annual Big Sky Shootout sponsored by Big Sky Resort was so much fun to attend. The sense of camaraderie in the sold out theater enhanced each films' storytelling ability as they were our stories shown to us from our peers (except perhaps winning film "Higher Love," which I hope is no one's story). For those who didn't get a ticket in time or just want to watch great ski films again, here they are in order from fourth place to first. Revel in the guts, glory, and gooberish stories shot in seven days and edited in two.
4th Place: "Natural Born Doobies"
**This video contains explicit content (profanity)
3rd Place: "No Name Movie"
**The music in this video contains explicit content (profanity)
2nd Place: "Fra-Breeze"
1st Place: "Higher Love"
This winter we made our 14th annual trip to Big Sky Resort. This year we connected with two Big Sky locals - Brad Biolo and Dan K. Over two storm days we toured all over Big Sky Resort finding deep powder and hidden lines that seemed to go on for miles. While we hoped for some sunshine we got nothing but blower powder. If it's not going to be sunny it better be snowing. It snowed for almost 30 days straight at Big Sky and we were there during the middle of it! We wish we had more time to explore the Biggest Skiing in America during our time at Big Sky. Enjoy the images and keep your eyes open, a few of these may pop up in some tourism and skiing related media. Thanks Dan, Brad, Big Sky Resort, 810 Mtn Crew, Mystery Ranch,Montana Ski Company and GlacierWorld.com photography. For more on the trip go to glacierlife.com.
Big Sky Resort's 11th Annual Dummy Jump was my first Dummy Jump experience. When first place finisher, Mutt Cutts hit the lip of the jump my heart skipped a beat. Not only was Mutt Cutts a piece of artistic-wonder, it was huge. Made mostly from newspaper and cardboard, Mutt Cutts didn't look like it would make it down the jump, let alone fly as far as it did. However, its fate was sealed: Mutt Cutts would destruct into thousands of pieces of newspaper. Although many Dummies destroyed on impact, such as Belarus Ballerina Tatiana Miller, face planting way before being hauled up the hill, and others, such as Side Jumpin' Joey, who face planted on the lip of the jump, Mutt Cutts was just plain exciting to watch. Other notable Dummies included: Big Red (I helped build this one!), Sweet Home Alabama, Hiley Vyrus, Tipsy Tipy, Turbo the Snail, Wile E Coyote, Flying Photo Goose, Checking Out, Weiner Thing a.k.a. Sweet Weiner, and many others including Dummy Jump's own sponsor, popchips' Barbie Q. (I also had a ton of delicious popchips that day and cannot wait to try the nacho cheese tortilla chips). Check out the results and then take a look at photos from the event:
6- Bubbly Betty by Alpha Hot Tub Maintenance, The Cain Family
5- Tipsy Tippy by Big Sky Resort Mountain Hosts
4- Wile E Coyote by Karst Kids
3- Tobi McFly by Team Shocker
2- Weiner Thing by Grizzly Outfitters and Ace Hardware
1- Mutt Cutts by Big Sky Resort Mountain Services
Heart and Soul Award- Sweet Home Alabama by Team Allen
Team Spirit Award- Better Together by Team Retail
Repeat Offender Award- Flying Photo Goose by Crystal Images
Second-place finisher Weiner Thing a.k.a. Sweet Weiner
Wile E Coyote
I saw down with first-year snowreporter Joe Schufman to discuss weather stations, how Big Sky Resort's snow report is gathered each day, and what it feels like to provide the world with great powder news from Big Sky Resort.
What time do you usually wake up in the morning?
I wake up at 3:45 a.m., but usually don't get out of bed until about 4:00 a.m. Once you are used to waking up this early it's no different than waking up at 8:00 a.m.
What's the very first thing you do when you get into the office?
I head straight to the computer to figure out how much snow we received overnight and what is going to happen with snow and weather today. To figure out snow totals we use automated weather stations and an on-mountain camera. These stations provide accurate totals for most of the mountain below treeline, for upper mountain totals we need to wait until about 8:00 a.m. for Ski Patrol to get on Lone Peak, and then they radio us with what the upper mountain snow totals are.
We use the best information we have available to determine snow totals, but it's not an exact science when 5,750 acres of terrain is combined with wind, aspect, and elevation. To counter the variable snowfall totals we report a range of snow - the lower number of that range represents the amount of snow the entire mountain received, and the upper number represents the areas that received more snow due to wind loading or elevation.
Can you give me a step-by-step of who you talk to in the mornings to get the snow report out to the public? Where do they get the snow report from?
Once I have the weather information I record a message on the Snow Phone with the pertinent information for the day: Current temperature, expected high temperature, low temperature, winds, skies, snowfall and snow totals: since lifts closed, 24-hour, 48-hour, and 7-day. If there are major events happening at the resort I include those too.
Next, I send out the information via a fax and an email and then I update five websites: Beta Scout, OnTheSnow, SnoCountry, Ski Montana, and a European site, Ski Resort Service International. Then I re-update the Snow Phone and the call two local radio stations. Depending on how hard it's snowing in the morning we can update our channels as frequently as every 30 minutes.
After this we start building the grooming report, which also reports similar weather, snow, events, and, obviously, groomed trails. Paper and electronic copies are distributed around 7:00 a.m. resort-wide.
Where are the weather stations located?
Our automated weather stations are located all around Big Sky Resort, and we even use some of the Yellowstone Club's automated weather stations. I use the instruments at Bavaria, Andesite, Lobo and Lookout Ridge. If you check out http://www.mtavalanche.com/weather there is a map with the locations of all the weather stations in the area pinned.
Where do we pull temperatures from?
Sten, our web guru, programmed the temperature feed from our Lobo Weather Station. Lobo is a mid-mountain weather station that is more or less an average temperature for the entire resort. The difference of the peak and base area temperature is about 10 degrees, so the peak and base area are + or - 5 degrees of what is reported by this feed. Typically Lone Peak is slightly cooler than Lobo, and Mountain Village Base Area is slightly warmer than Lobo, but sometimes Big Sky Resort experiences temperature inversions. When an inversion occurs it means that higher elevations are warmer than lower elevations. Make sure to check out Big Sky Resort's online Snow Report or call the Snow Phone as we report inverted temperatures.
What's your favorite thing about doing the snowreport?
It's really cool to be the first person awake on a powder day and getting to report the great news to the world. Other perks of the job are I get to work in an office with an outstanding team, I get time to ski almost every day because I have half of my work day done by 9:00 am, and finally we get to work on projects that we find interesting. It's great to work in many areas of the resort and learn how many departments operate.
Least favorite thing?
No secret here, waking up early and getting to ski every day means you go to bed early and are almost exclusively dedicated to the job and skiing.
People often ask the snowreporters or other team members at Big Sky Resort why we have one report for the entire mountain. Why do we do this? Or why do you think we do this?
We have one report because it adequately describes the conditions. The nature of any mountain means different snow conditions exist in different areas depending on winds, aspects, and elevations. Big Sky Resort is bigger than most mountains, but this doesn't mean we need to have four separate snow reports for the different areas of the mountain. What we do, that most mountains don't, is use a range of snowfall to accurately represent the minimum amount of snow the entire resort received and the maximum amount that skiers and riders can expect to find.
What is the trickiest part about reporting on snowfall over 5,750 acres?
Figuring out the right numbers. Conservative or liberal snow numbers mean that people won't get what they expected, which may lead to very dissatisfied guests. The reports that we create need to accurately describe what is happening at Big Sky Resort, so that people know what to expect.
Any other comments?
The office that I work in is great. Everyone is dedicated to their job, and watching the Sales and Marketing Team work together is like a v12 engine running on all cylinders. Ana, a second year Big Sky Snow Reporter, is an amazing coworker. She is an exceptionally fun person with tons of character. She applies her personality and passion for skiing and riding to her job, and the results are great.
Snowreporter Joe Schufman
Snowreporter Ana Dostert
"Photographs alter and enlarge our notions of what is worth looking at and what we have the right to observe ... we can hold the whole world in our heads-as an anthology of images. To collect photographs is to collect the world."-Susan Sontag On Photography
These photographs of the last two weeks at Big Sky Resort reflect our world and reach those near and far through the medium of blogging. Living Big: Stories from the Big Sky Life blog presents one way we can admire the massive amounts of snowfall we've received, but I urge you to come see for yourself. As living a life through photographs may show us the world, but it will not enliven our senses.
Photo: Perry Rust
Photo: Lonnie Ball
Photo: Lonnie Ball
Photo: Lonnie Ball
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