Say Hey Snowriders; there's no better way to greet the New Year than with a half dozen tram laps on some fresh powder! Welcoming 2010 over the weekend proved spectacular for my flatlander friends visiting from South Dakota! Roger and Ross were sure that the first run of the first day of the new decade needed to be from the top of Lone Peak @ 11,166'. I knew that the snow was extremely soft and carvey on the south side of the peak, so I guided them down an exceptional Liberty Bowl run into the deep tree powder of the Bavarian Forest. We followed that up with a quick jaunt down Marx to get their legs warmed up for what ended up being a New Year's Day of fun over on the Challenger lift, Roger's favorite Big Sky Terrain.
We shot down the cat-track and dropped into the Magic Trees where the glade in the middle section yielded some of the best turns. He really likes to put together a top to bottom Midnight / Moonlight nearly Outer Limits run that took us from the upper skiers-left shoulder of the run where the fluffy stuff was untracked, down into the Midnight glade and trees where there was more virgin snowfall awaiting our arrival. It was so good ... we did it again. By that time I had picked out a line down Bert's that was calling to me as we rode the lift. Finding the entrance incredibly smooth, I shot across to the right for some deep snow while my skier buddies took the left side for more vertical pitch. We were all well-pleased. But on the next lap, it was Roger that was being called by the snow to take the top of the highway over to the edge of the trees right below the left. Spectacular! ... We knew our time investment needed to stay worthy before leaving for re-fuling at the base ... so we repeated the best run and headed for some soup.
We capped the day with a couple speed-runs over on Andisite, with Elk Park Ridge nearly bringing me to my knees in the powdery moguls on the left side while my buddies stayed up on the groomed flatlander-friendly highway of this 1700' vertical rush. Something about that dog-leg that makes this run seem like the longest on the mountain... even though it pales against the bigger lift-accessed terrain! We topped the day with a quick blitz through the Silver Knife tree-glade that apparently is a forgotten powder-field right in the middle of some of the most popular runs off the Andesite side. The guys were pleased and headed to Whiskey Jacks for some brews and nachos. They wanted to meet up with some friends from the Black Hills that were experiencing their first trip to Big Sky. Montana's best has apparently cured them of their Colorado addiction. Nothing like no-lift lines and the biggest skiing in America to get your head screwed on straight!
By the next day the tram seemed to really want all our attention. Marx and Lenin were skiing really good ... but the best shot of the day was definitely the Third Dictator chute, and by Sunday you could still take the hard right off Lenin just below the transition fence and get into the "Beard". The run-out apron of snow was knee-deep, fresh and unscarred ... just pick your line of fun! We threw in a visit to the new Shedhorn Grill for a soup, sandwich and re-hydration break. How awesome to have a yurt in the woods for the folks that want a break from their hard work without returning to the base! Better get more seating, the food is great! Even though we got back on the hill to do a series of pick-up laps for missed terrain ... from Bad Dog to Erica's Glade we ran out of day before we ran out of mountain ... Thanks to some blissfully warm mid-twenty temps and fairly continuous snowfall mixed with occasional shots of blue skies, my friends had an exceptional visit to Big Sky. We've already got the dates in February for another visit and another 4 days to try to conquer this mountain!
Let's Ride The Sky!