Powder, steep runs, sick lines from the top of Lone Peak... On a recent trip to Big Sky, I couldn't wait for some stellar tram laps.
But as soon as I hit Andesite for my warm-up, I thought - why would I ever leave? Zooming down a perfectly smooth Elk Park Ridge had my body and heart flying.
The glory of the groomer is that it's all glide. You can go fast or slow, but your ride is smooth. you can take in the glowing peaks surrounding you, and cut turns wherever you please.
Big Sky is 40% beginner and intermediate terrain - that means on any given day you can find hundreds of acres of freshly groomed corduroy for the taking.
After my run down Elk Park Ridge I went back for more, lapping Ramcharger, Southern Comfort, and Thunderwolf all morning. Tram? What tram? I was revelling in the glory of the groomer.
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.
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!
Not only are snowflakes in the forecast... but so are turkeys! ...It's going to RAIN TURKEYS PEOPLE!
All jokes aside though, as November inches closer, Thanksgiving is on just about every American's mind this time of year, as is Christmas... as is FOOD.
We here at Big Sky Resort are SO THANKFUL to be opening for the 2015/16 winter season on this glorious November 26th day full of family, feasting and fun on the slopes but we're also thinking about the millions of people who struggle to feed themselves and their families every day.
The punch of the recession is still being felt all across the country, and in the bellies of roughly 3,000 men, women, children and seniors living right here in Gallatin County.
That's why we hope you and everyone you know will join us on Friday, December 11th as we host our 9th annual Turkey for a Ticket Food-raiser at the opening day of the Madison Base Area starting at 8:30 in the morning, this food-raiser will help the Gallatin Valley Food Bank, Madison Valley Food Bank, and the Big Sky Food Bank to provide food for families this holiday season.
So let's talk turkey... participants will get a free lift ticket valid for the day of the event in exchange for a minimum 13 pound frozen turkey or 20 cans of non-perishable food. The food banks are specifically in need of canned fruit, canned tuna, canned chili, canned tomato sauce, and canned soups.
So grab your skis or snowboard and pick up a few turkeys and consider yourself a hero, a hero we reward with free skiing! You can even wear a cape if you want! But it ends at 1pm Superman, so don't dilly dally!
Gold, Bronze, and Moonlight Pass holders... you can also be a superhero! Since you already have a pass, bring a turkey or your canned goods and we'll give you a $20 demo ski rental... regularly this is $69 bucks! Boom!
Big Sky Resort Staff, Food bank trucks, and volunteers will meet you at the Madison Base Area to unload your frozen turkey or canned food at 8:30 in exchange for one lift ticket per person per donation.
But since you're all superheroes you're probably curious how well this thing goes down... WELL, I will tell you, pretty darn well... thanks to you fine folks. Since we started doing this thing back in 2007, Turkey for a Ticket has collected close to 200,000 pounds of food for local area food banks.
(Let's all just take a moment to pat ourselves on the back... yeah; we're cool with happy dances too.)
Mark your calendars, tell your friends, send them this blog... you know the drill. It's on a Friday, so let's do this thing! We'll see you up here!
It was closing weekend at Big Sky and that can only mean one thing: Pond Skim. The crew is packed up, ready to go and we got an early start making our way up to Big Sky. This year would be different than last because this year I was going to be one of those skimmers.
The mountain fills with speckles of people as they await the debauchery that they are about to see, and I head to the top to make my debut as the fastest 80's skier that ever skimmed a pond. To say I was excited was a complete understatement. In a matter of minutes, the announcer calls my name, I jolt over to the start and I am ripping down the icy entrance switch as I await the inevitable crash into the water. I almost want to not make it across so I can get out of this suit that my dad wore every day in the 80s - the smell follows that description as well. As I am about to hit the water, I start day dreaming about how big this day has been and how Big Sky Resort closing weekend is and has been one of the best weekends of my life. The skies are blue, the beers are cold, and the onsies are vibrant. Big Sky closing weekend is something that anyone who calls themselves a skier should experience.
The live music scene in Big Sky, Montana, is unexpected and fantastic. Not only does Big Sky Resort offer live après music nearly every day during the winter across three outlets, but Scissorbill's Saloon, Ousel & Spur Pizza, The Gallatin Riverhouse, and By Word of Mouth also offer a variety of live music weekly. For a town of 2,000 people the live music can't be beat.
Live music suggestions during a winter visit:
1. Whiskey Jack's. Easily the best après food (Nachos!), but also Whiskey Jack's has the best vibe for music having featured Big Sky locals the Driftwood Grinners to post-Pond Skim with Milton Menasco. Throughout the winter and summer seasons Whiskey Jack's also offers fantastic late night music with Pinky and the Floyd, Cure for the Common, or Jerry Joseph and the Jack Mormons.
2. Ousel & Spur Pizza Co. Located next to the movie theater in the meadow, Ousel & Spur has great late night live music with a lot of the same musicians Whiskey Jack's entertains, but in a more intimate setting.
3. Gallatin Riverhouse. The Riverhouse, as it's known locally, is a must-do for a more country music feel. Go get some fried chicken and check out Bottom of the Barrel.
4. Open Mic Night at By Word of Mouth. By Word of Mouth (BYWOM) has open mic night once a week all winter long. It's great for finding out just how talented ones friends are.
5. Carabiner Lounge. Carabiner's cozy fireplace, chairs, and excellent service makes for a great setting to listen to après or late night music every day during winter season. I love it for a late burger dinner with solo acts Mike Haring or Kevin Fabozzi.
Bill Payne and the Hooligans at Whiskey Jacks.
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