3/6/2013 10:07:00 PM
WHEN IT COMES to conquering mountains, Lone Peak is one hell of a monster to take on. Whether you’re tackling on the steeps of Challenger or the high alpine exposed terrain from atop Lone Mountain’s 11,166 ft. summit, Big Sky is sure to challenge. So when my friend Johnny who was visiting said he was up to task, I gladly agreed to show him the ins and outs of what makes Big Sky BIG.
Day 1: Having never skied off the summit we first tackled Liberty Bowl. While the peak was socked in, we navigated our way through the snow fences and straight to the gut. I informed him to follow the green dots down and to use them as a point of reference. The powder was deep and after reconvening at the bottom, I knew Johnny was thrilled by his trademark large grin. We ventured on to the base and finished our day poking around the lower mountain in the trees chasing powder.
Day 2: Having had a taste of what Lone Peak offered, Johnny wanted more. Since he had already checked off Marx with another friend of ours the day before, we decided the best next step would be to take on Lenin. While offering the same southern aspect as Marx, Lenin is steeper with a bit more of a pinch than what most vacationing skiers are used to, but that didn’t stop Johnny. He confidently took it on as if we were skiing Mr. K and once again show up at the bottom (maybe a bit more out of breath than other Mr. K) with another huge grin.
Final Day: Still wanting more, Johnny requested that we seek the peak once again in hopes of checking off one more steep, technical run. After having seen the Dictators while skiing Lenin a few days prior, we set our sights on D1. With a storm quickly moving in, we headed straight for the tram. Traversing from the top of Lenin we made our way to the top D1. Looking down the rock walled run we pointed our tips downhill and went for it. Johnny precisely navigated his way down and we met up just above the traverse to Lenin. Pole taps/high fives were a given and of course Johnny’s smile accompanied them.
We next ventured to Challenger to check off the final steeps that Johnny hadn’t skied yet. Once again Johnny killed and we headed for the base. Sending Johnny on his way wishing him safe travels back to LA, we exchanged hugs, a few fist bumps, and of course the plan to take on the rest of the peak next year.
Interested in checking out some of these great spots? Look into the mountain guide program offered through Mountain Sports School.