When Scot Schmidt calls and asks if you want to go skiing, you kind of have to clear your schedule and sign up for the adventure. His friends have been wanting to ski the Tram after being in the area for a few days and I was the lucky one to show them around.
He was joined by his friend Corbett and Brian, Brian is the founder of the X-Dance Film Festival that celebrates the best action sports films. Brian hadn’t been to Big Sky since the 80’s and the base area wasn’t even recognizable. He said when he skied here last, everyone looked up at Lone Peak, but it was only part of the scenery, not even considered as potential ski terrain back then.
Now that we’re celebrating our 15 year anniversary of the Tram, he was in the area and available to finally ski this epic terrain from this epic lift. Scot’s an old pro with this big mountain terrain having been here to shoot Warren Miller films in the past.
We loaded up Swifty, then skied to the Triple Chair, this was a straight shot to the lift they all wanted to ski, no warm ups on Andesite cruisers for this crew, no touring the trees, it was all about the Tram. I noticed from Bone Crusher that we had had some wind since skiing yesterday, wind is a natural element to any mountain environment and with some slopes it can really pull off the snow, but the beauty is that it can load and smooth terrain too.
Not knowing what effect the wind would have, I quietly whispered to a local for some advice, he grinned and said “center punch Marx”. I glanced to watch his route from the top as he dropped in the Liberty snow fence and so we followed as a group to head toward the Yeti Traverse.
From the top I now knew why he was grinning. A run that just 24 hours earlier was full of bumps was now perfectly smooth and loaded up with chalky, white carvy snow. This is a double black diamond run, but it was skiing with the consistency of Mr. K, the turns were effortless and the crew was kind enough to let me drop in first. About half way down I slowed up a bit to glance how the others were doing and of course Schmidt came flying by me arcing perfect super G turns through the soft snow. I didn’t have to wait long while Brian and Corbett smoked by for their top to bottom Marx lap.
At the bottom it was all smiles and the call was made for another one, this time I thought I had better stop and get a few photos to prove how amazing the South Face was skiing. Look at that famous Schmidt schmear turn.
For the third lap we eyed Lenin and saw the familiar look of the center loaded up and smooth. Scot led the way, then Brian showed me how it was done, Corbett went next and I ran tail gunner as we skied another giant, long run that was perfectly wind groomed.
Between laps on the Triple Chair Brian said, almost to himself, that the run just kept getting better, with the way the wind was blowing he was right, every time we'd ski it we had fresh tracks, almost within 30 to 45 seconds from your run, the wind would re-smooth the surface as if you had never been there.
Big Sky gets snow, it gets sun, we have clouds and the wind can blow, but this mountain is so big that you’re always able to find that perfect spot where conditions line up just right. Today it was all about the South Face, where will it be tomorrow? We hope you join us and find out!
We’ll see you out there,