3/26/2013 7:32:00 PM
THERE'S NOTHING BETTER than spending spring break in Big Sky Montana. I drove an easy 12 hours from Minnesota across the flat lands of North Dakota and ended in my favorite place, Big Sky. As I drove up the mountain toward towering Lone Peak, my heart began to race with excitement. I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish this spring break and skiing was at the top of my list.
I got to spend my first day on the mountain getting my legs back under me on some long groomers. Big Horn, being one of my favorites, was a nice long blue to start things off. Throughout the week my skiing returned to what I was used to and before I knew it, I was back to taking on the steeps of Lone Peak.
Every time I ski at Big Sky I am brought down a new route, and it always amazes me the amount of great skiing that is out there. Throughout the week I was lucky to be able to ski with my boyfriend Kipp and good friends. I got some beautiful sunny spring skiing in, and a couple days of fresh snow as well; something a girl would write home about.
One of my favorite Nordic venues in the nation is Lone Mountain Ranch (LMR) and just a 5 minute drive from the resort. LMR has 2,200 vertical feet of manicured groomed trails winding through the woods with open meadows that offer breathtaking views of Lone Peak.
Taking a day off from Alpine skiing to get my cardio on, my good friend Amber drove down from Bozeman to join me for a day out on the trails. We started in the meadow where the skiing is easier and progressed up towards the tree trails. After a few hours of kicking and gliding we set out for the upper mountain to enjoy a drink and a snack at Carabiner by the warm fire.
Friends, fresh air, and fresh snow are what spring breaks in Big Sky mean to me.
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.
2/15/2013 8:45:00 PM
LONE PEAK WAS at it again today after a difficult to explain combination of fresh snow and wind deposited well over a foot of fresh cold smoke on the south face. If the roughly 18 inches of fresh wasn’t enough, we were also graced with a beautiful bluebird day.
My friend and I headed straight for the tram with the expectation to ski some of Lone Peak’s free refills under the bluebird sky. After shooting a few photos from atop the peak, we headed towards the snow fences above Liberty Bowl and this is when we first came upon the unexpected deep that lay before us.
I was shocked, dumb founded, blown away and surprised. Face-shots were plentiful and seemed to never end turn after turn during our top to bottom run. High fives and pole taps were a given at the bottom as we stared back up at the unexpectedly epic run that fell/hit us in our laps.
Lone Peak: expect the unexpected.
12/19/2012 10:48:00 AM
WHEN YOUR CO-WORKER asks you out for lunch, it usually entails a meeting over a greasy meal from some sort of semi-fast food restaurant with small talk covering office politics, local happenings, or some other non-exhilarating topic. Here at Big Sky Resort, you better wear your ski boots and bring your snorkel because lunch breaks here usually entail face shots and powder turns…num num num num num.
The other day was an extra special on-hill lunch break since I got to spend it with members from my Marketing and Sales team. The six of us made laps all over the mountain heading up the Triple, Swifty and throwing it down in the terrain park. Our Weddings Specialist, Go-Go, showed off her skills throwing it down in the park and tore it up laying trenches down Mr. K. Mad Chad McDealy got steezy with it while popping over pine trees in Rice Bowl and then slashing turns down Crazy Horse. The Gricer, with her avy pack strapped to her back, ripped the upper mountain after dropping into the Bowl leaving us all behind in her whitewash before patiently waiting at the bottom. Local ripper and reigning Groomer Skier of the Year, Ski-lando, led the pack and showed off her smooth, fluid style. The genius behind BSPN and master of the lens, The K-Man, juggled the task of slashing big face shots on his board while still shooting footage of our epic lunch break. I tagged along but won the award for best fall of the day after I got bounced below Rice Bowl. Needing redemption, I headed for the Buffalo Jump cliff to end the day on a good note.
Just another day at the office…face shots and powder turns. Life is good.
12/14/2012 5:31:00 PM
NOTHING PUTS THE BIG in Big Sky quite as well as the Lone Peak Tram, and now that it’s open, Big Sky’s season just hit full stride. After the ludicrous storm cycle we’ve been happily stuck in (nearly 60 inches of snow in the last week), our upper mountain base depth has grown to over 55 inches and the skiing/coverage reflects it.
As someone who now calls Big Sky home, nothing truly marks the start of ski season quite as well as stepping foot into the tram for your first run off the top of the Peak. And nothing gets the early season leg burn going quite as well as a top to bottom lap down Liberty Bowl. Upon exiting the Tram, my buddy Chris and I clicked/strapped in and headed for the top of the south face. With another storm socking in the peak, we dropped in to Liberty nearly blind. While it wasn’t the hip deep powder we’ve been skiing the last few days, it still made for an awesome run with the snow reminding me of what you’d usually find in the Pacific Northwest (dense, soft, and springy). With a blanket of springy, rippable snow below us, Chris and I navigated our way through the storm towards the bottom of Liberty where it began to clear and we were able to begin to really open it up. Once we both reached the bottom, patrol dropped the rope to the Dakota Territory and we headed for Gate 4 which accessed some of the newly gladed terrain. We were both stoked on how well it skied too; great spacing and open meadows were abundant and have made for a welcome addition to the area. With a bit more snow, even the large burn piles scattered throughout the area will add to the fun by providing little ledges and logs to pop off of while bopping around in the trees. After a quick discussion on where to go, we decided the only logical decision would be to burn another hot lap so we headed to the Dakota lift for round 2.
12/12/2012 4:44:00 PM
POWDER, POWDER, POWDER, AND MORE POWDER; holy cow! Today was a powder day for the Big Sky history books. When we first opened at 9am this morning we had already received 6+ inches of snow and this unexpected sneaky storm truly delivered. At a rate of nearly 3 inches an hour, we received 20+ inches of snow from 9am to 4pm covering the whole mountain in a fluffy blanket of pure MT cold smoke.
After finishing my morning meetings, I split and headed for the lift. Making no stops, I set my sights on Challenger and got my first face shots just off the J-Walk. The blower, over-the-head powder continued the whole way to the lift where I reconvened with my buddy Turner. While riding up, we watched the few other skiers on Challenger slash turns and bounce around as they skied under the lift. Once we slid down the unloading ramp, we skied away towards the top of 17th Green. I began to salivate when I looked down the run and saw countless un-skied lines to be had (at 1:00pm). Once I dropped in, every turn seemed to bury me under a cloud of powder. The next turn would reveal itself for only a moment before I went under again. Laps like this continued for the duration of my break and it only got better.
Lunch break face shots as epic as today are hard to top and 12/12/12 will always be a day remembered.
12/10/2012 10:27:00 AM
OVER THE HEAD face-shots are always welcome on a powder day and the last few have been those kinds of days. Starting last Thursday night, Big Sky has seen a consistent storm pattern that deposited 12 inches Thursday, 7 inches Friday, 2 inches Saturday, and 6+ inches Sunday night much to the delight of eager snow sport enthusiasts. Ski Patrol has been hard at work matching what Mother Nature throws at them by continually opening more and more terrain and staying busy in the early mornings getting the mountain open. The low water content in these storms has delivered the extra fluffy snow we’ve grown accustomed to here in Big Sky and the forecast looks promising with a chance of snow every day through the end of the week.
Friday was the start to a great weekend with amazing skiing to be had across the whole mountain. Challenger and the Bowl were skiing particularly well with pockets of snow that were well over knee deep that buried you under every turn. My favorite turns of the day (and the first) were under 17th Green where every turn delivered a poof of over the head cold smoke. Reports like this continued through the weekend with new terrain opening on Andesite and the Tram/Big Couloir reopening on Sunday.
Consistent snow and amazing skiing has provided a start to be remembered this season. If Mother Nature stays on our side, we’re sure to be in hog heaven this season.